Friday, August 3, 2012

A New Baby Arrives!

We're so excited to meet our beautiful new grandson at 11:33 p.m. on July 27.  His name is Oliver Bradley Taylor and he arrived weighing 8 lbs. 11 oz and is 20.5 inches.  He chose to come posterior, which made his delivery more complicated, but he is a darling boy.  Erik said Alicia was composed throughout, although he said the epidural made her high as a kite. He said he was the one that fell apart--when Alicia had to endure a little cutting.  Alicia looked thoroughly beautiful when we first saw her, not like she'd been in labor for hours.
We each enjoyed holding the brand new boy.

He is singing his first anthem. 
I believe it goes, "I don't like this new place.  Inside of Mommy was nicer."
 He sang for his great grandma Taylor, too.
Oliver is a beautiful boy.  We're so excited to have him join our family.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Day with Camden and Maris
Our day started with "pancake sundaes."  Camden named them. They are pancakes covered with bananas and strawberries, then chocolate and caramel topping, ending with whipped cream squirts that fill the entire bowl.  One pancake is a feast and a half.
  Next Camden had the idea to give everyone a Mohawk made of butterfly and flower clips.
 Maris didn't want her picture taken.  Camden was much more willing.
Even Lacey got the Mohawk beauty treatment.

We popped popcorn and headed to the park to see the ducks.  The ducks marched straight over to us for their share of popcorn.
 We saw a cute family of baby ducks.  Two of them escaped and were marching in the adult duck parade.  (They were keeping up, too.)  Camden said they got back into the water somehow.
 Lacey was in dog heaven, eating popcorn as quickly as it fell.
 It may look like Maris is getting a drink, but no.  This is part of Maris' quest to get every part of her face, hair and dress wet.  She was very successful.
Camden is on the bridge--his observation deck--making sure none of the ducks go over the waterfall that flows beneath the bridge.
 We played a rousing game of "Pooh Sticks."  Then we went home to watch the video so we could see how Winnie-the-Pooh originated the game.
We relaxed at home playing "Sorry!"  which Maris won spectacularly, doing a victory dance to celebrate.  Camden had every bad thing happen that can happen during "Sorry!" but he was a great sport and just kept playing.  That wasn't enough game time, so we tried Monopoly as well.  Maris soon tired of the game, but Camden hung in there until the bitter end when he lost to Grandpa.  You can see how excited Grandpa is to play the game.
It was a great day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Joys of July

July has already been a fun month--and there's more excitement to come!  Alicia is due with her first baby on July 25.  We had a baby shower, and being the great hostess I am, I neglected to take pictures of the food or the presents.  But here are some of the notable attendees from our side of the family:
 Aunt Brenda and Maddie
 Brandy, Aunt Gayle, and Natalie
 Grandma Hodges
Aunt Stana, new baby Logan, and Morgan
Alicia and best friend, Jena
Jena's mom, Julie

After the partying was done, we spent the next two days helping Alicia clean her apartment.  She worked hard!  She and Erik have moved in to a two bedroom non-air conditioned apartment closer to campus.  Can it really take 20 hours to clean a one-bedroom apartment?  The answer is--pretty close.
 Alan did an awesome job with the walls.
 Most of the time Alicia was working hard.
Alicia's "glam gloves" helped her do excellent work.
Anyway, they're all moved out and the new apartment is ready for baby Oliver.

Another joy of July is that we are about to adopt Lacey, this cute Brittany Spaniel that has stolen our hearts.
Raspberries are another joy.
And, of course, the beautiful July flowers.
Our garden path on the north side of the house.

The coneflowers are gorgeous this year.
The daisies are always pretty.

Next to grandchildren (and the rest of the family), these are some of the joys of July.

A Minnesota Fourth of July

What is more fun than the Fourth of July in Minnesota?  Not much!
We enjoyed an All-American lunch. Nathan barbequed the best burgers, Briana made an amazing cheesecake, I made a terrific fruit salad, and Emmaline enjoyed corn on the cob in her full body armor.
After lunch, we chose to spend some time by the Mississippi River.  Emmy was raring to go.
 She positioned herself by the strollers, ready for action.
It didn't matter whose shoes she wore, she was ready for walking. 
Grandpa's shoes.
 Grandma's shoes and sandals.
 Daddy's shoes.
 She was willing to drive a vehicle to get on the road.
She persevered, even with obstacles in front of her.
She did stop for occasional hugs.

We planned to lazily spend the afternoon in Americana activities and then watch fireworks above the Mississippi River.  Here's what really happened.
We found this sign in Red Wing and thought we'd go see the Mississippi River overlook.
We climbed this interesting set of stairs that looked like they led directly to the overlook.  We climbed them and found they led to a trek for advanced hiders that would eventually lead to the Mississippi River overlook. Sign after sign warned us that the trail was for advanced hikers.
This is the infamous sign. 
Our state of preparation:  All of us except Alan were in sandals or flip flops.  The temperature was in the nineties and the humidity was high.  We had no water, and Emmy insisted that she would do her own walking.  Of course we decided we would take the hike.  Who couldn't be an advanced hiker for .89 of a mile? 
We thought we must be close to the overlook when we came to this "enormous opening."  (This is the Mississippi River.)  We made the decision to turn around, hoping that the not-to-be-missed opening wasn't just around the next bend.  When we returned to the car, Nathan checked an ap that told us our round trip had been less than .89!  We'd only gone half way!  Personally, I was glad for this news.  I would have been sad if we'd turned around at the end of the trail, but since we'd had a long way left, I was glad to leave our quest behind.
I wish I'd taken a picture of a friendly fox that wouldn't move out of the trail when we got very close.  I was kind of spooked.  Was he friend or attacker?  I guess we'll never know.
Is the beginning or the end of the hike?  With advanced hikers, it's hard to tell.  They always look fresh as a daisy and raring to go.
We had some wonderful ice cream at Nelson's.  (We got there 10 minutes before closing.)  After enjoying dessert before dinner, we went to KFC for the main course. Emmy had a wonderful time dancing around the floor.  I walked around with her and let her do her swinging, dipping-her-shoulders-kind-of-dance.  She scolded me in some kind of gibberish language when I moved her sippy cup from the middle of the floor.  She placed it back in the same exact spot on the floor and then continued her dancing and exploring.

We had planned to watch fireworks over the Mississippi, but this was not in Emmy's plans.  We drove home and chose to watch an excellent fireworks display on TV.  New York and Boston both have great fireworks.
Other highlights from the trip:
Tickling Elmo and making him laugh.

Dumping books all over the floor and then singing "Clean up, Clean up," while picking up all the books.
Going with Grandpa to the park next to the apartment.

The clean up song also worked for picking up packets of popccorn.
We had the best conversations:
We read lots of books.
It was a great trip.  We love you,  Nathan, Briana, and Emmy!