Fall is a whole new experience for the girls. In Arizona there are about two seasons, summer and almost summer. My girls have never had all the fun that comes with jumping in a huge pile of leaves, so imagine the joy on their face when they saw that Papa had blown every leaf in the yard into a pile just for them! It is so much fun to see them experience these things for the first time and I think that maybe they get a little more enjoyment out of it being a little bit older.
Recently we had to say good bye to our beloved Gigi. We were so lucky to have so much time with her, especially the last 4 years that we were living in Arizona. Every October when Gigi came down our lives got to be a lot more fun. The girls went trick or treating at her house, we shared Thanksgiving and Easter together, but the best for all of us were the breakfast outings and dinners we shared weekly. We almost never missed a Saturday breakfast, many weekends making it on Sunday too and Wednesday nights were our favorite when we would bring dinner to Gigi's house. I am sure this last year Gigi got sick of eating pot roast, but it was Josie's favorite thing to help me make and bring along. Gigi always has things to keep the girls busy, they had their toy drawer in the kitchen with dolls and books, when that got old they would cook with her pots and pans and if all else failed there was the VHS of Snow white that was sure to keep them entertained (and quite) for at least an hour.
Over the last four years it was so much fun to get to know Gigi in a different way, in a different environment. Because now when we saw Gigi we weren't with family but we were always surrounded by all of her friends. (We were very popular in the 55+ crowd.) Gigi had the greatest friends, the holidays were shared with them and they became our Arizona family.
We knew this winter would be different, we had moved away from Arizona this summer to be closer to our family. In that way were were lucky, we got to spend one last summer with Gigi at her Minnesota house (as my girls call it) and the girls had a whole new experience and the one that Brian and I had loved for years before going to Arizona. Lazy summer days spent swimming at the lake, taking golf cart rides, and BBQ's at Linwood. We all miss our Gigi more than words can say, but are so thankful for the precious memories that we have from our special time with her. We love you Gigi!
Margaret Dawn Grant was born on August 16th! She weighed in at 8lbs. 6oz. and measured 21.5 inches long! She is absolutely perfect and beautiful, just like her big sisters, who are totally in love with her. As you know Josie is the best big sister ever and Ellie must have been taking notes because she is so great with her. Still, almost 6 weeks later Ellie loves to hold her, hug her and kiss her, she even will sit and sing her songs and read her books. Maggie's favorites so far are Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Blue Hat, Green Hat. Josie is also happy to have another sister in the house and as always is mom's big helper. Our family is very happy and all living in the same house a gain. A few of weeks after Maggie arrived the girls and I headed to North Dakota to be with Dad and finally try and get settled into our new house.
Well, again it has been quite some time since I have posted anything, but this time I think I have a fairly good reason. Our lives are completely crazy! About a month ago everything was going along just fine. Then one day Brian called from work and told me that he had the opportunity to move us closer to home. The catch, we need to go RIGHT NOW! Mortenson has a project in Jamestown, ND rebuilding a hospital and they want another guy out there, but they need him yesterday. The bonus, going to this project transfers us to the Minneapolis office with Mortenson, meaning that when this project is done (June/July 2011) we will get assigned to a new project with the Minneapolis office and that means being home in Minnesota!
So we jumped at the chance. Never mind that I was 35 weeks pregnant. Never mind that we packed up everything and left in 2 weeks time. Never mind that we had no where to go or live once we got there.
So we made a plan. Brian would go to North Dakota, find us a place to live and go to work. The girls and I would go to Minnesota, live with Allan and Diane and wait for the baby to come. This was easy, I would go back to the Dr. that delivered Josie and then after the baby when we were all settled, we would all go to North Dakota.
So here we are, I am now almost 39 weeks pregnant. The baby is scheduled to come on August 16th. (One of the perks to having a scheduled C-section) The girls and I are hanging out at Grandma and Papa's house and loving getting to spend so much time with their cousins! Brian is in North Dakota and comes to see us on the weekends and everything is falling into place.
Life has been crazy for the last month, but we are so excited to be home. I have a ton of pictures but can't seem to get them on the computer here, so they will have to wait until we can get them up in North Dakota or Brian figures out why I am having trouble.
On April 28th our little Ellie turned 2! She was so excited to have a birthday party with her friends! Since Elmo is about the coolest thing in Ellie's world we decided on an Elmo birthday. I made her Elmo cake and we had her party at a local park with a bounce house for her and all of her friends. Most of Ellie's friends are Josie's preschool friends and their younger siblings along with our usual Mortenson family. We are very lucky that we have become close with several families from Josie's preschool and often get together outside of school days. Also many of Josie's firends have younger siblings right around Ellie's age, except that they ALL have younger brothers! Ellie is the only girl! All of the kids had a blast and the parents got to sit back and relax while the kids bounced and played at the park. of coarse it was one of the hottest days of the year so far so everyone was sweaty and hot by the end of the party. Good times were had by all and both the girls were asleep before the end of the 10 minute car ride home!
April brought us lots of fun! First was a trip home to Minnesota. The girls and I planned an extended trip because we that the end of Brian's project was near and that always means lot of extra hours and night without Daddy. Which is very difficult for two Daddy's girls. So at the end of march we packed ourselves up and headed to Grandma and Papa's house for two weeks with Brian joining us for Easter weekend. The girls had so much fun hanging out with their cousins. Another highlight was a girls day out with Grandma Alice. I have never seen my girls have so much fun shopping! Ellie looked like a teenager digging through racks of clothes and pulling out things she liked. She was also the first to say if she didn't like something. With a large portion of their summer wardrobe in hand we went to lunch at Josie and Grandma's favorite place, Applebee's, with one last stop before heading home, Build a Bear Workshop where both the girls made very cute monkeys which they cuddled with on the way how and promptly fell asleep after a bust day at the mall.
Auntie Stacy took on the task of coloring Easter eggs with the girls, since Noah and Taylor were on spring break. The girls had so much fun hanging out with their cousins and doing their eggs and I even got a couple of hours to myself with no kids!!! (That almost never happens.)
On Easter morning the girls came down to discover that the Easter bunny had hidden all the eggs they had decorated and even left them very full Easter baskets. This was Ellie first year of really being able to find eggs on her own and she loved it.
After all the eggs were found and the baskets all pulled apart we got ready and went to church. Then it was off to Grandma Alice's for brunch and another Easter egg hunt.
Them back to Grandma and Papa's for quick naps, dinner and you guessed it ANOTHER Easter egg hunt!
This was the best we could do with the attempt of a group picture.
Now after all that running around you can see why I never have really considered my trips home a vacation!
Also in April Ellie turns 2!! (on the 28th) We are still in shock that out little Ellie Bellie is already 2, time flies! ( Her party isn't until this weekend so I will update with birthday pictures after that) We also finally moved Ellie into Josie's room and into her big girl bed the week before her birthday. This was a huge change for us because Ellie was always the easy one to put to bed. A little rocking in her chair and a few songs then we could lay her down and walk away and not hear a peep until the morning. Now Josie is always the first one to sleep and Ellie needs a little more attention. She is getting there though, it has only been a little over a week and she is getting better at falling asleep without someone laying next to her, but she does think it's really cool that she can get out of bed on her own. Just tonight I had to pull her down out of Josie's bed twice before she finally went to sleep. I was sitting here writing this blog ans I hear Josie's little voice, "Mom, we have a problem." and there she was as happy as could be on the top bunk! All I can say is, that's my Ellie, we wouldn't expect anything less.