Fall 2010: A Lily Recap

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From medicine lake park – Indian Summer – Oct 2010


Does anyone remember what happened to Fall? Looking at this blog, you’d think we went from Summer to Winter in one insane swoop. Then again, looking back at the months of October and November, that’s pretty much what happened. We’ve had a jam-packed last few months (is “too busy to blog” really a valid excuse for two people with smart phones who spend most of their day online?), but now the Holiday Season is fast approaching, and I (Jason) thought I’d take a shot at posting again.


From medicine lake park – Indian Summer – Oct 2010

We’re both really busy at our jobs and in general have a lot going on, but as usual our family life is totally dominated by the Force of Cuteness that is Lily. She has seen, done and learned so much in the last few months that I can’t help but be amazed as I look back.


From Lily leaves Nov 2010

It starts way back in October. In case the bitter cold and frozen roads and sidewalks have driven the memory from your heads, I’m here to remind you that October 2010 was beautiful. Like, “wear shorts and t-shirts out to play in the park on a sunny day” beautiful. …so that is exactly what we did. On one of those beautiful days (the 9th), we packed up and headed out to West Medicine Lake Park for some play time.


From medicine lake park – Indian Summer – Oct 2010


Aside from the fact that we had a really great day playing together in the sun, Jill used the opportunity (beautiful setting and perfect afternoon sun) to take what have become some of our favorite pictures of Lily. We played on the playground, swung on the tire swing, and all around basked in the warm and sun. It was a great afternoon.

From medicine lake park – Indian Summer – Oct 2010

That same month, but far later (the 24th), we decided to use another nice weekend to go down to visit my Mom (aka “Grandma Gayle”) and stepdad (“Grandpa Jim”) and the horses and kitties and puppies! We got down there that Friday night just in time to have some of the fish fry going on at the American Legion that my mom is manager of. It was delicious and everyone loved Lily. After that, we went out to the farm and saw the animals (especially the baby ponies. Big surprise, Lily loves the baby ponies, Ginger and Caramel) before playing for a bit and putting Lily to bed. It having been a long day, Jill followed soon after. A while later, my brother (Shawn) and his family showed up. We played outside (hard to believe now that there’s snow and ice all over and it’s cold outside) with the kids, playing “ditch” for a while before we finally sent them off to sleep. We (my family and I) sat up till late talking and laughing, and it was wonderful.


From Lily farm Oct 2010

The next day, it was back outside! Lily was really excited about the ponies, but most of them were way out in the pasture grazing. In the interest of some fun outside-time with Lily, I walked her down to try to bring the horses back up. Now, it doesn’t sound very hard, does it? You just bring a rope and tie it to the one you want and drag it back to the barn with you, right? Not quite. The problem was the fact that horses are herd animals. You go out and drag one away, and the rest of them are likely to stampede and run past you – or run you over – unless you make sure they know you are not to be shoved around by anything with hooves. While I (having grown up on a horse farm) have this figured out pretty well, Lily doesn’t, and holding a rope with one hand means I either have to carry a 2 1/2 year old a half mile over hilly terrain one-handed, or have her walk with me and risk her getting trampled under the hooves of a herd of horses. So what did I do? I didn’t bring a rope, and I carried Lily.


From Lily farm Oct 2010

So we walked down across the pasture, me having her walk while there were no quadrupeds about, and then scooping her up when we got closer. The look of awe and wonder on her face when we came over the hill and saw a whole herd of Appaloosas grazing right there in front of us was pretty awesome to see! And then we saw her. There, right in the middle of the herd, was Jessie pony! Jessie is Lily’s favorite pony, and for good reason. The pony we call Jessie is that pile-a-bunch-of-wriggling-kids-on-her-and-she-still-stays-calm-as-a-Zen-monk pony that every little kid wishes lived in their back yard, magically healthfully sustained on carrots, apples and the love of children. Jessie doesn’t live in our back yard, but Grandma Gayle’s is an awesomely close second, and this way we don’t have to worry about the fact that ponies need a lot more than carrots and apples to be healthy! And don’t worry.. between Lily, my brother’s five kids and my sister’s two, Jessie is very very well loved by children.


From Lily farm Oct 2010

Anyway, there she was. We looked at her. The herd of horses (Jessie included) looked at us, seeming to think “ummm.. those are NOT our normal humans…”. We walked up, me explaining how to be calm around the horses and not wave your hands about. Mom’s horses are so friendly, that not only did they not run away like a lot of horses would have, but they partially surrounded us, sniffing and nosing and investigating just who we were and what, if any, food we had brought for them. Lily was in heaven! She had an ear-to-ear grin on her face, quietly asking “what are they doing? why are they smelling us?”, giggling whenever they brushed her with their nose. We just pushed past them after a moment and went right up to Jessie. I’m not sure if she recognized us or just that Lily was little, but she just took one step toward us and laid the side of her head against us very gently, as if to say “I accept you”. It was very sweet, and really was just the icing on the little-girl-bonding-with-ponies cake.


From Lily farm Oct 2010

So then we had the problem of bringing Jessie back to the barn without a rope. Like I said, I have some experience in this, so I tried something I was pretty sure would work. We petted Jessie and rubbed the side of her neck (they love that if you do it just right) and in general bonded with her for a moment, and then turned around and walked away about ten steps. Glancing back, Lily laughed out loud. “Daddy! She’s following us!”, said Lily with a squeal. I stopped and turned to jessie, asking her in a gentle voice if she would come with us. Then i walked another twenty meters or so and turned around again. Doing this, we actually managed to convince the entire herd to follow us most of the half a mile back to the barn without any rope or any food or bribery of any sort. I think Lily was pretty blown away. I then brought her back out of the pasture and Mom went out with a rope and got Jessie while she was close, bringing her into the barn and brushing her off before putting on the riding saddle.


From Lily farm Oct 2010

The family spent the next few hours or so playing with Jessie. Each of the kids got to take a turn being led around on her. A special triumph that day was Shawn’s daughter Tali (5) who had her first ever ride-all-by-yourself lessons and did great. Being from further away (Shawn’s girls are down there every other weekend), Lily actually got two rides, and loved every minute of it. She held on tightly with her knees like a good rider as I jogged ahead and got Jessie into a nice trot around the yard, and did both whole rides without anyone having to hold on to her (though Jessie was still being led). Now, a full month later, Lily still talks fondly about going to Grandma Gayle’s and seeing her favorite pony. She also laughs and laughs every time she remembers Dillon (one of mom’s Appaloosas) being playful and biting my walking stick. I’m not even sure why, but that one thing really stuck with her, and she talks about it fairly often.


From Lily farm Oct 2010

After a while more playing outside and a nice lunch, we all said our goodbyes and made our ways home. It was easily one of the best family experiences I’ve had in quite a long time, and I suspect that nobody in my family will forget it any time soon.


From Lily farm Oct 2010

Soon after that was Halloween. Lily and I both love Halloween, but for different reasons. I appreciate the historical and cultural (Celtic) significance of the day, which marks the day AFTER the last day of the Celtic “wheel” year and the day BEFORE the first day of the next year, thus making it not a part of the calendar – a “day that is not a day”. Lily appreciates that she can dress up in really cool costumes along with all the other kids and walk around with mommy begging for candy from our friends and neighbors. This year, she dressed as Cinderella. Now, I may possibly be slightly biased, but I think she nailed it! Being huge into Disney Princesses, she loved her costume, just sitting and staring at herself in the mirror. It was chilly out, but Mommy (Jill) rigged up a cozy blue shawl that actually went really well with the outfit, somehow managing to look as authentic as possible considering the circumstances.


From Lily Halloween 2010

I can’t speak too much for how Lily’s Halloween went, as I stayed home (hanging out with Lily’s Uncle Greggy) and handed out candy. My understanding is that they went to Grandma and Grandpa’s (Jill’s parents) and trick-or-treated in their neighborhood, and then came back to ours and trick-or-treated a bit before coming home. Lily and Jill both seemed really exhausted, but I think Lily had a lot of fun! Jill took a bunch of pictures, which maybe will give you a better idea than my second-hand description written a month later from memory.

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From Lily Halloween 2010


And on that note, since this post is going over 1700 words and I haven’t even gotten to November yet, I’ll try to summarize more quickly. Basically November consisted of the weather rapidly getting colder. This one change colored nearly every other thing that changed in our lives this November. It was cold, which meant no more playing in the park and riding bikes and walking home from day care. Instead, we switched to staying inside, playing games and blocks and whatnot inside. We also switched the heat to a permanent “on” position and switched out all of the bed sheets for their flannel counterparts.

From Lily sledding Nov 2010

Whenever the weather turns like this, kids who have grown accustomed to a lot of exercise outside start to feel very cooped up inside with their toys. This has manifested in Lily as a little bit of an attitude, which also corresponds nicely with the fact that she turns three years old in around two weeks. We’ve been trying to counteract the cooped-up-ness by buying her a new snowsuit and a snow-tube, taking her out and going sledding a few times, which she loved. We live right by a large and popular sledding hill (Sunset Park in Robbinsdale), and it was great fun to take her snow-tubing there. The hill is so long and gradual at the bottom that you can send even small kids down by themselves with little or no fear of them crashing into anything painful. We also made snow angels and a Snow Lily (snowman with straw to make blonde pigtails), both of which she got a huge kick out of.


From Lily sledding Nov 2010

And finally we arrive, frozen, at Thanksgiving. Like most people, we spent the Thanksgiving break eating far too much “comfort food” and trying as hard as we could to actually relax for more than five minutes. And like most people, we failed miserably at the second part (but excelled at the first). Thanksgiving was spent with Jill’s extended family at her aunt Pat’s house, and it was excellent as usual. Pat does a great job putting it together, which is really difficult when dealing with large and busy extended families. We all had good food and celebrated some birthdays and visited for a while and then went our separate ways. From there, Jill’s immediate family all went to her parents’ house where we dropped off all three girls (Lily and Claire and Abby) for a sleepover! Us “grown up” kids then went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (pt 1) at the trendy new-ish “West End” theater in St. Louis Park. The movie was excellent (we both read and loved the whole series), and then Jill and Greg and I went out for beverages at Cooper (Irish Pub) before heading home.


As that brings us more or less current, I’ll finish this post with a totally disjointed series of Lily-anecdotes.

In her millionth attempt to stall sleeping, Lily asked for some water. I told her she already had water in her room and knew how to get it. Then I heard her explaining to herself -“yeah! If you want something, you have to get it for yourself. That’s the way the world works. See? That’s the way the world is.” 10/13

Lily put on her own clothes (and shoes), then grabbed a bowl from the cupboard and poured her own cereal, then sat and ate it. Then she looked at her Daddy and said, “I’m gonna do everything! You can drive the car, though.. but not in here.”
Daddy is just happy to know why she keeps him around. ;) 10/28

“I don’t want to play ‘Lily is cute’.” 11/2

Lily was excited about the snow, talking about going sledding and making snow angels. Then she said, “I KNOW! Let’s go look for summer!” (that’s my girl!) I laughed and asked where she thought summer was hiding.. she said, “Outside – under the snow!” Well, duh. 11/13

“I’m naughty, but I’m working on my nice.” 11/26


From Lily farm Oct 2010