February 28, 2014

Valentine Exchange

The advantage to having a child still oblivious to the calendar and which days holidays actually fall on is that it's easy to "move" a holiday to another day without any grief or disappointment. Between illnesses going around and bad weather, a flexible schedule is necessary this winter. Also necessary is the resolve to drive despite the forecast because road conditions are just not going to get better soon enough.

Today, I managed to get Evie to a friend's house for a play date Valentine exchange. Evie appreciated the opportunity to play with other kids her age, as well as the opportunity to stock up on some candy. I appreciated the opportunity to be somewhere other than my house for a while.

February 27, 2014

Learning to Sew

As a teenager, I wished for the ability to make my own clothes.

Fifteen years later, I am finally learning how to sew. I am also learning how to draw patterns. All of this so I can now make clothes for my daughter. Hopefully, eventually, I'll be able to make some for myself, but it's more fun making clothes for Evie. She can rock bright colors and crazy patterns far better than me.

So, with the return of sub-zero temperatures, the inability to breathe outside, and the disinclination to see how many intersections my car can slide into before there's an accident, I busied myself at home this week with making my first shirt from my own patterns. I think it's not half bad for my first try. And, hey, it fits.

February 20, 2014

If You Can't Beat It...

Three days of above freezing temperatures have ended with a snowstorm. The last I checked, we are supposed to get 6-10" of snow. And it appears we are not leaving behind deep freezing temperatures just yet. In the 10-day forecast, it's predicted that we will have a couple of days with sub-zero highs. There's just no real break with this winter.

At least with the warm up, I was able to get outside with Evie. We took walks and played in the snow. She was really happy to spend time outside.

With the snowstorm beginning today in the early afternoon, and the temperatures remaining in the 30s, I thought it would be fun to get out Evie's rain umbrella and take some pictures, some pictures with color in them. Evie loves walking around with her umbrella.

February 17, 2014

Fun in the Snow

I had to go out today to shovel snow from the car and our walkways. Before shoveling, though, I brought the camera outside to capture a few images of Evie playing in the snow.

February 16, 2014

Art Shanty Project

There is an art festival of sorts (I cannot think of what else to call it) called the Art Shanty Projects going on this month in White Bear. It is actually held on White Bear Lake. Various warming houses have been converted into artistic displays that are open on the weekends. It has been dubbed "The Burning Man of the Midwest" ... Although I think that is a bit of a misrepresentation. There seemed to be fewer costumes, fewer dreadlocks, and much more clothing than in pictures I've seen of Burning Man. 

Anyway, we decided to go check out the Art Shanty Projects today. It was a balmy 20 degrees with a nice 10 mph breeze. At least the sun was shining. And because this weather is an improvement, there were SO many people on the lake today. There's only so many people you can fit into a warming house... and with lines waiting outside of pretty much every one of them, only one tiny door to get in and out, and an energy-filled 4-year-old in tow... we ended up only checking out a few of the art projects. Still, it was fun, and I would definitely return another year. 

Evie liked finding the spots on the lake where the snow was completely worn away, revealing the ice, so she could go "skating" (slipping) across the ice. But I think the best part was when we found the Dance Shanty. Evie walked right in, made her way into the center of the room, and became the center of attention, showing off her dance skills and not even considering that everyone else around her was 2 - 3 feet taller than she is. It was crowded enough in the Dance Shanty that I didn't think I could get a picture... Still, I wish I had have tried anyway.

February 13, 2014

Allergy Check-Up

When I scheduled Evie's (first) annual check-up with her allergist earlier in the week, I couldn't remember for sure whether she'd have to go through testing (for tree nuts) again. I thought I remembered the doctor saying that she would have to be tested each year to see whether the allergy changed. And what I thought I remembered was right.

Evie tries hard to follow the directions of nurses and doctors as well as she can, even when she's nervous about what they're going to do to her. She sits still, breathes deep, and she fights back her tears, at least until it's just her and her mom in the room alone. I'm proud of how she can so maturely hold herself together, but I remind her that it's okay to feel upset. I got a big, long hug from Evie after the nurse left the room, while we waited for any reactions from the tree nuts to occur.

The fifteen minute wait must have seemed so much longer to Evie. She kept asking if I could scratch her back. I replied that when the nurse came back, then I could scratch it. Anytime she heard a voice in the hall, Evie would exclaim, "I hear someone outside the door! Maybe it's the nurse." 

Finally, Evie managed to distract herself with a mirror hung on the wall nearby. She made faces, then she tried to twist around to get a look at her back. I took a picture of her back, then showed it to her (on the back of the camera). She liked getting the details of what was happening. After we got home, she asked to look at the picture again.

Evie was tested for walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and pistachios (in that order). You can see on her back the raised bump next to the "C" on the right side of her back, and the raised bump next to the "P". Last year, Evie only tested positive for cashews. This year, she also tested positive for pistachios. 

February 10, 2014

Making Valentines and Drawing Monsters

Evie decided she needed to make Valentines for her grandparents with some foam stickers we bought last week. She included a drawing of a monster (her favorite thing right now to draw) in each Valentine. I love her creativity.

February 9, 2014

Wildlife Rehab Center Open House

We got a nice, fun break from the house today with a trip to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota. They hosted an open house, where kids had "a chance to 'admit a stuffed animal of your choice and take it through the examination process with our vets and vet techs."

Evie chose a duck as her patient. He was taken to an examination table where he was diagnosed with a broken wing. We were sent to the x-ray room to see just how bad the break was. The tech showed Evie an x-ray of a mallard wing. Evie particularly liked looking at the bones and finding where the wing was hurt.

Next, we entered a room where Evie assisted in attaching a bandage to the bird's wing. The bandage was also wrapped around the bird's body to help hold its wing still and hold it in close so it could heal.

Before the duck could be placed in a cage in a room with other animals, he had to go to the parasite station to determine if, beyond the broken wing, he was healthy. Evie made sure to hold the duck quite carefully as we waited.

At the parasite station, Evie learned about tapeworms, maggots, and fleas.

Then she looked at lice in a microscope. Thankfully, her duck was parasite free.

The last step was to place the duck in a cage where he could begin to heal. Then it was time to say goodbye.

It was a lot of fun getting a chance to see the inside of the rehabilitation center and giving Evie a chance to learn about how wild animals recover after they are found sick, injured, or too young to survive on their own. It was a great follow-up from last summer when we brought our own wild baby bird to the rehabilitation center and later helped release some other birds that had finished their recovery.

February 2, 2014

Our Super Bowl Sunday

Jon and I came down with a horrible flu in the middle of January. Thankfully, Evie remained mostly well, only developing a small cough, despite the passing on of germs. But it seems Evie could not get through this winter without a nasty virus anyway. She has a cold, and it has been at its worse since last night through today. I know Evie is feeling really crummy when she voluntarily lies down to take a nap. It takes being pretty worn out to get her to stop.

February 1, 2014

Winter Carnival Ice Sculptures

How many days are there until spring?

Forty seven.

Except, we live in Minnesota. Spring, at least spring-like weather (above freezing weather), is more likely to arrive in April rather than March. Or, if this year is like last year, spring won't come until May.

While we shovel snow in windy, frigid temperatures, practice the art of digging out a (twice) stuck Honda Civic, and chop up solid chunks of road snow left by the plow truck at the end of our parking spot (so the car can stop getting stuck), we don't think about spring, or anywhere with weather warmer than us. It leaves us too bitter. Instead, we just feel ridiculous for having chosen to move to this state.

Kidding aside, it has been a little rough this winter.

Today, we decided to check out some ice sculptures in a park in downtown Saint Paul that were carved for the Winter Carnival. It's the first time we've gotten out for something during the Winter Carnival that actually has to do with winter (i.e. it's the first time we've done something more than attend the orchid show at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory). We're taking baby steps as we learn to embrace winter here.

The ice sculptures were interesting and fun to see. We toured the park and were back to the car within 20 minutes, though. I don't know about Jon and Evie, but I don't know if I'll ever fully acclimate to the cold here.