Thursday, December 22, 2011

Growing Anticipation

Yesterday I finished one gift, today I finished another. I still have four more gifts to make and assorted baking obligations. I've been making a lot of cookies but they keep disappearing. And just as odd, my kitchen chairs keep rearranging themselves. I come into the room and see that the chairs have pushed themselves over to the kitchen counter. The counter where I leave the cookies before packing them into tins. Hm. Maybe I have really hungry chairs??

Tonight Martin and I went out to dinner at a downtown Italian restaurant to celebrate our five year anniversary! The girls had a fun time staying home with their AuntT. Our friend Joannie met us for dessert which was great.

And so the preparations continue! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Decking the Halls

I can't believe that Christmas is just a few days away. I'm doing all I can to get things wrapped up (haha, a pun!) before Saturday so that I don't spend all of Christmas Eve running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I am not making as much this year, but I'm really happy with everything we've gotten for people. We started budgeting/shopping many months ago and I feel like that gave us the chance to be truly thoughtful, rather than what we often are, which is more like waking up on December 24th and saying "what?! It's Christmas already?!" ok, I admit, that's more MY attitude than the ever-prepared Martin, but still. I'm happy with our givings this year. And I did manage to make a FEW special homemade things.

Martin and I will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary on Thursday. I had lots of good ideas for this year's traditional gift theme: wood. Sadly, I wasn't able to find just the right thing. So unless something falls into my lap in the next couple of days, I'll be giving him a lame-o flame-o anniversary gift. Boo.

I got my hair cut! I got it layered with swoopy sort of bangs. A fabulous change for someone who hasn't bothered to get a professional haircut in more than two years.

"The bump" is growing. Unfortunately, it's growing in the belly as well as the *ahem* behind.

...And the Christmas goodies just keep rolling in....
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Secret's Out

So, it seemed like just about the stupidest idea in the world to advertise this to the blogosphere while it was going on, but for the past year-and-a-month Martin has been working a second job. It started last fall when our original mortgage company sold our mortgage to an ultra scummy company and our monthly payment jumped up something like 80%. (ok, not THAT much, but the increase was huge.) we had about one month's warning for this. We knew the solution would be to refinance and get away from scummy NationStar, but that takes time and we had to keep paying the sky-high payments until then. At Martin's regular job he can't guarantee to be out of his office by a certain time. During busy times he is sometimes at work until 8 or later, so an after-work job was a no-go. Martin found an ad on craigslist for a nighttime security guard job on Friday and Saturday overnights, midnight-8am. And for awhile it was PERFECT! but then the new wore off. There were still the obvious advantages: extra money (he committed to a year, even though we were able to refinance by late winter and get our payments back to reasonable) we still could go to church as a family, and I had this amazing opportunity to stay up late watching chick flicks every Friday and Saturday night!!! (this is in fact how I got my green sweater made so quickly. I stayed up late knitting every weekend! For a long time I had this great routine--put the girls to bed, Martin napped on the couch until he had to leave, and I would get myself a Starbucks drink and sit at my kitchen table knitting and listening to the folk music programs on NPR. Lovely! But then I finished my green sweater and summer came and we wanted to be more active than during the winter when Martin would sleep during the days as soon as he got home. Meh. Still, he stuck it out until the date he'd set! And that date was TODAY!! two weeks ago he began growing his beard back (he had to shave it for the job) and this morning he came home at 8:00 for the last time. Hooray!

You can see why it would have been foolish of me to basically say "hey all you lurking Internet loonies! My children and I are all alone overnight! Come and get us!!" haha.

In other news, I've been scoring some beyond-belief deals on clothes to fit my growing-but-not-exactly-maternity-clothes-ready belly/waistline. My new rule for shopping is that I will not pay more than $5 per item. And then I find $2.99 racks!!! I am buying clothes for less than the cost of a peppermint mocha. Awesome.

We have seen the Christmas tree at the Union and the girls loved the gingerbread house there. We are enjoying Advent SO MUCH and I am impressed by Anja's spirit of preparation.

Now it's time to read some stories to my cute children who are being piglets this morning. So cute! Here's hoping this posts! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, December 3, 2011


This was the best picture I got during my little Christmas card photo shoot the other day. For awhile they were being AWESOME, but my camera was being way less than awesome and every single pictures was nothing but blurs. By the time I found my phone and started using that, they'd both lost interested in the photo shoot and had started fighting. This was the one picture I got where one face at least was clear!

So, one of the things I really hate about parenthood is when I have to read those books to my girls that have scenes where the characters are going to sleep. They always look so cozy, so sleepy, so wonderful. I read those and I think, "please, can't I go to bed too? Please??" And of course, the answer is always "No, it's only 3:00 in the afternoon." (Or sometimes it's "No, you've only been awake for an hour and a half.") It's so sad for me. And then by the time it is time for me to go to bed, I don't want to because I get this burst of energy that comes with the knowledge that I have a few hours in which I can do ANYTHING I WANT. BY MYSELF. My days have become pretty exhuasting lately. Not necessarily in a bad way......... it's just that our days are very full of activity... and talking.

As you know, Anja is 4 years old now, and evidently 4-year-olds are very curious people. Anja lately is wanting to know every detail about every subject in the whole wide world. She wants to know how electricity works. She wants to know why bird poo-poo is white when her poo-poo is brown. She wants to know all about deserts and hippopotamuses and she wants to know every last detail of the Life of Christ. But it isn't just the facts she wants. Oh no. Anja wants to know the emotional details about everything as well. "Mama, what did the poor animals eat if the Baby Jesus was lying in all their good hay?!?" I spend my whole day, every day, thinking up answers in words suitable for a four year old while maintaining honesty without making her afraid of everything. "Yes, Anja, if you ever encounter a hippopotamus in the wild, he will probably eat you. But don't worry--chances are you will never see a hippopotamus in his natural habitat, or at least if you do, you probably won't be all by yourself." And the questions are CONSTANT.

Meanwhile, as Anja and I are involved in a steady stream of question-and-answer sessions, Greta is trying to kill herself. Greta is one of these energetic children who doesn't stop until someone gets hurt--and really, she has to be the one getting hurt before she stops. She just goes and goes and goes. It makes going out in public somewhat difficult. And it doesn't help that she has a true talent for running into large store displays. (She seems especially attracted to the cardboard kind that spill their contents and fall over easily.) Earlier in the week the girls and I went to Barnes & Noble to try and do some Christmas shopping for Martin. We did get the shopping done, but it took a long time and it was not what I would label an "easy" outing. Greta was dead set on getting Daddy a game. (Barnes & Noble has quite the game selection now, did you know that?) So we visited the many shelves of games, where Anja asked me the detailed playing instructions of each game as Greta ran laps around the display shelves. Eventually we got away from there and a long time later, with our purchases, made it up to the checkout. Anja happily participated in the standing in line and the checking out politely while Greta "swam" on the tile floors. (In case you don't know what "swimming" is, it's when she gets down on her tummy and pushes herself all over the floor like a little otter. It seems more acceptable when she does it in the privacy of our kitchen. Also, she usually wears a swimsuit.) Anyway, we did make it out of the store, across the parking lot, and to our car (which currently is my parents' van that we are borrowing while our car sits mostly dead in our driveway) and we even got all buckled in (miracle!) before we realized that Greta had lost her [very small] panda bear inside the store. Oh, tears. We called right then and then went back later that evening, but nobody had turned it in and we couldn't find it anyplace. Bummer. Probably some other little child has a new toy. And it would've been mostly okay because Greta actually has two of those very small panda bears.... but then last night she lost the other one at some point when we were down in Indianapolis. Sadness.

But even with the exhaustion, as long as we stay in the safety of our own house, our days at home are glorious! We've been planning and making some small Christmas presents for some people in our families. Lots of fun. Advent is wonderful with kids. Anja and Greta are REALLY enjoying it this year... the singing, the candles, the nativity scenes, the looking forward to Christmas. The planning gifts, the trying *every* grocery run to remember to buy molasses so we can make gingerbread......... did I mention the singing and candles? It's a wonderful time. And surprisingly not busy...... we don't really do the holiday party thing (it helps to have no friends), and everything else that goes on we can just pick and choose and decide spur of the moment whether to partake in any given activity. (Example: Dickens of a Christmas was today; we didn't go. But this week they are having Christmas festivities every day over at the Union and I expect that at least one day we'll be able to hop on a trolley and get over there to see the giant tree and hear some music!)

Oh! I've just been invited to a music show in the living room! I'd better get in there....

I hope I didn't paint a negative picture of my children in this post! It's just all those sleepy, cozy childrens books I'm forced to read every day... *yawn*

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Double grr.

Great long post was written.

Apparently the "publish" button and the "delete" button are a sort of all-in-one deal.

Grrrrr. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Birthday Pictures... And I Can't Fix my Blog!!!

I am having some blog issues. Is it looking to anyone else that all of my sidebar information is now all the way at the bottom instead of in the sidebar? It's very annoying and I don't know how to fix it! Anyone with any information on how to solve this little problem is welcome to give me some tips.

And now, here are some pictures from Anja's birthday last week: The Festive Table.

Notice the store-bought cake. I am not usually one who buys birthday cakes... Not that I'm AGAINST it by any means.... I'm just the type of crazy mom who takes special orders for birthday desserts, right up to the very last minute. (Gee, sound like Halloween?) Anja's order this year was the same as last: Stringy Monster Cupcakes, from one of my cupcake decorating books. No problem! I can do that! Just give me a few minutes to get my stomach under control...... Just a few more minutes.... What? It's already 4:00? Everyone's coming over at 5:00 for cupcakes and ice cream? Where's the ice cream?! Where are the cupcakes?!? WHERE ARE THE INGREDIENTS FOR THE CUPCAKES?!?!? I had nothing. I was not exactly unprepared, it's just that the idea of going to the grocery store makes me nauseous, let alone actually baking something in my kitchen. Do you know what our grocery routine is as of late? We go to Target (I can't do Aldi, as there's no place to get away from all that food) and while Martin and the girls do the food shopping, I go browsing in the clothes and tiny baby things. Then Martin sends me a text message to tell me what checkout line they are in and I meet them there. I try to time it so that I never have to see any of the food out of their bags, but sometimes I just have to avert my eyes. So for Anja's birthday, I thought for sure I could do it..... but it turned out I couldn't. So we ran out at 4:30 and bought a Happy Birthday cake that she was very happy with.

She opened her presents first thing in the morning. She's never been so excited about her own birthday before!

Cutie Patootie Avila!!!!

Blowing out the birthday candles. (See those cookies?! I DID make those! From scratch!)

Anja received this kitten from Ooma for her birthday. It's one of those creepy Fur*Real pets that makes scary noises and walks and purrs. She named it Thunder Snow and then to match it's WWF name, she dressed it up like and 80's rock star. Remember how Anja had such good style back when she was 2? I'm not really sure what happened to it.

And here's our old friend, Ratty! For awhile I thought he was dead. I hadn't seen him in so long, but the other day he was back, hopping around in the rain. I realize he's all wet and not looking his best, but check out that tail. He is definitely not a purebred squirrel. If he weren't so charming I'd be afraid of him. But we've given him so many nicknames he's kind of like a member of the family. (In fact, Greta just came up behind me and saw this picture and said "There's Ratty!") Pretty gross though, huh?

In other news: Saturday was the beginning of shotgun season for deer. The weekend was windy and yesterday was nasty so today was the first day Martin got out to hunt. I am proud to say that he was only in his stand for about an hour before he shot his first doe. Way to go, Martino! As we speak he's stringing it up from our tulip tree in the backyard and tomorrow he'll get to work butchering it.

Today instead of doing laundry, which is slowly taking over our house (I shouldn't admit this but I've stooped to the point of piling dirty clothes into empty cardboard boxes. How disgusting is that?) I worked on a baby quilt for the new baby. I know. My bathroom is in a State of Emergency, and I am spending my time crafting for a child that won't be born for at least 6 months. Sheesh.

And speaking of that new baby, Martin has started calling it "Elkis." This is because a boy will likely be the name not given to Anja and Greta, which is John Francis--whom we would call Francis. And a girl will very likely be named Elka, which I think is an absolutely gorgeous name, and which is the Polish form of Elizabeth. I LOVE IT. I had never heard this name before, but it was the name of an author of this children's book we got called "One Little Chicken." I saw it, and loved the name immediately. I texted Martin (I was at the library; he was at work) and asked him if he liked that name. His response was "Yes! It's a good Jewish name!" And that little book turned out to be a retelling of a traditional Jewish story. I think it IS a good name. I like it better than the similar German name, Elke (El-key) which is the German form of Adelaide, and is a slightly more common name.

Have I bored you to death yet with my names obsession? That's good because it's WAAAAY past bedtime. Martin got his deer hung and is back to get us. Time to go home and go to bed!!!! Hooray!!! I love bedtime!!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011


My apology is for the layout of my blog and how weird it is. I'm going to be messing with it in the days/months to come. Don't be alarmed.

The better apology (my sister will appreciate this) comes from my mom who apologized to me tonight, not only for the horrible dress she made me wear to my piano recital AND talent show in 4th grade, but also for the WORST HAIRCUT EVER that she made me have FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE. I had this horrible, horrible, wretched, horrible haircut from the time I was in first grade to the summer after 6th grade. I remember the last time I had my haircut in that awful way because it was for my cousin's wedding that summer and after that she said I could grow it out. And I did! Right away!

I told her she's lucky anyone married me. I also told her I wasn't too embarrassed for Martin to see the video of me in that dress from the piano recital.... 'cause I know his mom made his sisters dress the same way. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Where We Finding Baby There Be Milk Nearby!

Wow, I'm a pretty big loser for not updating for this long, huh? I have some pictures that I took from my Facebook mobile uploads album--so if you're friends with me on Facebook, you've likely seen all these pictures already. The night before Anja's birthday Greta and I went out on a sort of date... we had dinner together at Panera, then did some last minute birthday underpants shopping for Anja. (And I would like to say that even though Martin made fun of me for buying her underwear for her birthday, it might've been the gift she was most excited about. So, Ha!)

This is on Halloween night, when we'd all had a bit too much sugar. The girls dressed up as little chicks and they were very cute! I think I got some good pictures on my camera, but of course, that is at home and I am up here at my parents' house. I was a little bummed that at the last minute they decided not to be the characters of Little Red Riding Hood, but I was luckily able to whip up matching chick costumes in two days (thanks to my mom's awesome, jam-free sewing machine!) and the girls were very happy with them. Halloween was really fun.... our kids are pretty shy and Anja in particular was not really digging the hoards of people out and about, even if it was all in the name of candy. But I think during the gorge-fests in the days following, they were glad they'd been brave and gone trick-or-treating.

I participated in my first ever craft fair last weekend! I sold exactly ZERO of these little gnomies I had. However, I had a lot of knitted kittens and except for the three that Anja sneaked into her pocket, they all sold! I also sold a few of my sewn cards, and that was it. I would not call it a huge success, but it was DEFINITELY a lot of fun. My sister, my mom and I all had this big booth right next to the kitchen where a little bakery business was selling cupcakes and stuff. Surprisingly, I didn't have ANY cupcakes, but I did drink their yummy hot cider. Turns out my sister and I are going to have a booth at another craft fair coming up at the beginning of December. This is okay, since I hardly sold anything at the last one! But it still makes me nervous because while I'll be making stuff for the craft fair, I SHOULD be making Christmas presents for, you know, people I actually know. Like my family.

This is a picture of the skunk that Martin shot out in Virginia this summer and it signifies the text message I just got from him a few minutes ago that said "Vacay starts now!" Tomorrow kicks off shotgun season for deer and Martin has all of next week off of work to focus on lowering our annual grocery bill.

Anja turned 4 on Wednesday! She is EXTREMELY excited to be a four year old. I myself can't believe it.

And this is the self-portrait Anja drew a few days before her birthday. The round things on and around her feet are her slippers. Later she got out the glue and cut pieces of ribbon and glued them onto the hair, and then drew clothes and she added the body after she realized she'd forgotten it, too. Complete with belly button. So in the end, I'm glad I got a photo at this stage of the picture because it turned out to be the most comprehensible.

We had a little span of time a few weeks ago when we thought Theodore would no longer be living with us. And you can use your imagination to figure out where that would've put him, since I doubt anyone would've responded to an ad that said, "Morbidly Obese Cat with Severe Dandruff Seeks Loving New Owners Who Are Very Forgiving Of Him Leaving Poop Smears In Their Bed." I mean, I guess they might've responded privately, by throwing up, but they definitely wouldn't have called the provided phone number. Anyway, he was having some serious hygiene issues due to his being vastly overweight and therefore unable to clean himself after *ahem* toileting. Martin called the vet, told them the story and said if there's no way to fix this issue, he's going to have to be given the prick of death. Luckily, our vet told us there might be a last hope: some special prescription cat food and a daily dose of fish oil. Also, we've been letting him outside again. He appears to be losing weight and his bathroom area is MUCH cleaner since starting the new diet! He still has some dandruff issues.... but I guess I can deal with that. The girls are glad to have him still living with us. As you can see, he's not always amused by their games, but hey, he doesn't move either, so I don't think he has too much room to complain.

So, we've been hanging out at my parents' house a lot lately. This is due to the fact that I've really started hating food. Raw vegetables literally make me throw up, if I see them sitting on my kitchen counter waiting for me. I've also recently had a terrible urge to give my hair a new 'do. A serious chop, or style, or bangs or something... OH WAIT.... Maybe I'm pregnant!? As a matter of fact, I am! And except for the aversion to all things edible, our whole house is very excited about this new addition, due in early June. June seems awfully far away... but I should be glad that I'll have so much time to knit cute clothes!!!!! And again, except for the nastiness of the 1st trimester, I'm excited to be preggo again. It's been awhile! I'm excited for all the babyish things... diapers, and baby wearing, all those cute weird sounds they make, seeing a little personality emerge from a wrinkly pink blob.... It seems like so long ago that I had the baby experience. Greta will be well past three by the time this next baby is born, and she hasn't been in diapers for almost a year. Plus, nobody lets me dress them anymore. I need a baby to dress so the world can know that I really don't have ridiculous taste in childrens clothes!

So that's the news around here. Oh, also, my girls have become kind of obsessed with Lady & the Tramp. It's pretty cute... they don't watch movies at home, so it makes Ooma's house extra special if they get to come over for dinner AND watch Lady & the Tramp AND have baths with colored water. And they have no interest in any other movies. They are just really obsessed with Lady & the Tramp. It's cute!

Oh, let's be honest. Everything they do is cute!! Tee hee hee! If I could post a sound clip I'd post Anja singing "the Three Little Kittens" and Greta singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb." We've been having tons of fun recording our singings in the audio memos on my iPhone!
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Apples & Pumpkins & Sunshine, Oh My!

At this point it's been a number of weeks, but awhile back we visited the apple orchard/pumpkin patch that we like so well, Stuckey Farms, down near Indianapolis. Such a great place! This visit was by far the busiest, and the absolutely most gorgeous weather. EVER. We spent pretty much the entire day down there which really wiped out the girls... but we went to my parents' house for dinner, which helped them get through the evening! This post might be picture overload (might? Let's face it: It is.) but I had trouble weeding out. The sky was so blue, the light was so bright, the leaves were so green, etc.

This is what we do for entertainment while waiting for the tractor ride to come and take us back from the pumpkin patch.

The best part of this trip was on the tractor ride back with our pumpkins, Greta was getting pretty restless, so I was trying to make conversation with her in an effort to distract her and keep her from throwing herself from the wagon in a fit of rage. I said, "Greta, we'll carve our pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. What do you want yours to look like?" She gave it a good long thought. "Ummm.... I think a bottom."

With Halloween comes Anja's favorite candy: Candy corn. This stuff nauseates me. I can't ever remember liking it, and about once a year I think "Maybe now I'll like it" and I'll taste a piece, and, no, I still find it disgusting. But Anja can't get enough of it. Yesterday she told me, "Mama, the candy corn with the brown on the top? Don't worry, it's just a different flavor, it's not rotten!" Thanks, Anja, I was worried!

And speaking of Halloween, I am rocking the frugality contest this Halloween! I've been really striving to get the best deals on stuff. I had 3 Jo-Ann's coupons, which only work for regularly-priced items. (Annoying, since most of their store is on sale.) So I've really been working to get the best deal, coupon or no coupon. Which included making two trips out there yesterday. But it's worth it! So far I've gotten all I need for Greta's costume, a booklet of fall stickers for the girls, and a little Halloween decoration for our door, and the pattern for Anja's wolf costume (best deal: originally $13.49, I paid .99!) all for roughly $10! I am SO proud of myself. Now I just have to get the hairy fabric for the wolf costume, and I'll be all set! I'm excited! Anja is most excited. It was her idea to be the Little Red Riding Hood characters!

I apologize for the incomplete birthday post. My birthday was most wonderful, as I said, but my post erased the whole part about the second day when the girls had pony rides. When we were returning the cabin key Martin saw the information for the stables, so we drove out to see what was available. It was a slow day, so we were the only people there (it was early, too) and the guy at the stables just kind of handed us a pony and told Martin to keep him on the gravel and don't let him eat the grass. He didn't tell him how long to go or anything, so Martin just took the girls one at a time on a nice slow pony ride on the nicest, softest, MOST ADORABLE PONY EVER. I wanted to take the pony home with me. Seriously, it was so cute. And SO SOFT!!!!!!!!

Now this outdated post is posted.... and tonight WE ARE GOING TO SEE TIM O'BRIEN AND I CANNOT WAIT HE IS SO AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, one of my long-time loves. I loved Tim O'Brien WAY before I loved Martin (shhhh, don't tell Martino!) It's a family-friendly show, and we've been trying and trying to convince Greta to come with us--I think she would absolutely LOVE it. But she says she wants to stay at Ooma's house. Whatever. Someday when she's older and Tim O'Brien is too ancient to perform anymore I'll tell her about the chance she passed up when she was 2. And she will have to live with the regret for the rest of her life. But, whatever; it's her choice.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ugh! Incomplete!

So that last post did not publish completely!! It only published what I'd written and saved up at my parents house and then I finished it on my phone, but it didn't publish what I'd done on my phone! And now I'm so irritated I don't want to type it all out again! Grrrrrrrrrr....... Maybe another time soon. With more pictures. Sad faces. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Birthday Goodness

Every year for my birthday Martin tries to surprise me with something. Every year he pretends he's going to work, when really I know he's scheduled a vacation day. Every year I guess his gift well in advance. (This happens every Christmas too.) He's just not very good at surprising me, and I'd like to think it's because we know each other so well! However, this year, he succeeded. Now, to give myself credit, I had originally, long ago, guessed that we might be going camping, but then I thought it would be too expensive and troublesome, and cold, etc., so I thought that couldn't possibly be it. And after that I had no guesses. So I guess I did kind of guess it, but since I didn't believe my own guess, I think Martin wins. Anyway. On to the story of the event.

He waited until the night before my birthday to tell me he'd taken not one, but TWO days off of work and had reserved a cabin down at McCormick's creek for a night. Hooray! We put the girls to bed and got straight to work packing up blankets and pillows and a little bit of food so we could head out first thing in the morning and get down there in time to enjoy the park before our check-in time at 4:00.

I'm going to omit the story of our morning and how we couldn't convince the girls to get out of the house and then once we did, all they wanted to do was go to Barnes & Noble and play on the train table. So we did that. And then they wanted to go home and eat hotdogs. (!?) We ignored that request and headed down to the park instead. (Oops, I guess I told you all about the morning..... but I did leave out the fit-o-meter levels throughout the morning.) Once we were on the road, Anja was ready to go! The drive was beautiful and when we passed the Elk farm some of the big elk were right up by the fence, and one of them was vigorously shaking his huge antlers! Those are amazingly huge animals! Beyond the elk farm is the buffalo farm, but they were too far out in the field for the girls to see.

We ended up getting down there around 2:00, which ended up being perfect because by the time we got there everybody had to go potty and we couldn't find a bathroom anywhere. We did find a little picnic shelter so we grilled some lunch, ran around in the leaves, played on a small little playground and walked a little bit on a trail that ended up being pretty overgrown with thorn bushes, so we turned back.

Then we noticed a bigger field and a bigger playground across the little drive. I don't think we actually made it over there until the next day though.

I wishe my photography skills had been more "on" while we were here. I just couldn't get fabulous pictures like I sometimes can.... and it's too bad because the lighting and the leaves were so beautiful! The next morning was even more perfect, and of course, I left my camera in the car.

At about 4:00 we drove back to the main office to pick up our cabin key. We had no idea what to expect with the cabins.... it was pretty cheap, so we were not expecting much; a cement floor in a bunker-style room was about what we'd been envisioning. Boy, were we wrong! The cabin was ADORABLE, with wood floors, a large sitting room with a gas heater that looks like a wood stove, rustic furniture, a bedroom with two sets of bunkbets, a kitchen with a fridge and stove, and an extremely clean bathroom with a shower, toilet and sink. It was awesome! There was also a little screened in porch with two rocking chairs at the front, where Martin and I sat after the girls went to bed. It was so perfect! All the cabins (I think there are 12) are in this little neighborhood-y kind of place, which is a paved road, and at the end is a trail. We took a little walk down the trail, ran around the road (It is a loop at one end) and just really enjoyed ourselves. There's a deck with a picnic table outside the cabin so we had dinner outside.

A small tour:

Anja played "little deer lost in the woods" a lot, under the dark bunkbeds. This is kind of her "Deer in headlights" look to go along with the game.

Martin fixing dinner. Next to the counter was a funny wooden door-window that opened onto the screened in porch. When we got home from one of our walks, Martin handed me the girls in through the window. They thought that was hilarious!

Martin mixed up some dry hot chocolate mix and brought it along in a jar, so the girls got hot chocolate before bed.

The view from the pull-out sofa bed.

The girls looking at their new Highlights magazine while Martin were cleaning up the place and getting ready to check out.

The kitchen and bathroom beyond. See the cute shelves above the fridge? We put all our food there and it looked so cozy.

It was SUCH a good birthday surprise!