Tuesday, November 15, 2011

October Fun

Our heroes - Ironman and Spiderman!
Our heroes - Ironman and Spiderman!

October was a month of fun for Zach and Alex. As I mentioned in the last post, it started out with a couple of visits to the Scarecrow Festival. The end of the month was packed with a trip to the circus, seeing one of their favorite cartoons, Phineas and Ferb from the Disney Channel, in a live show, and their first Cub Scout activities - their first Den meeting and their first Pack meeting where they got to race their own rockets in the Pack's Space Derby.

And then there was that little kid-favorite holiday, Halloween. The boys decided to go as superheroes this year; Alex was Spiderman and Zach was Ironman. They had a costume parade at school, went trick-or-treating at the local businesses downtown and later hit a few homes near a friends' house. We even had a special dinner that night, something we were calling Stuffed Jack 'O Peppers, which were quite tasty!

The boys show their ferocious faces (?) at the zoo
The boys show their
ferocious faces (?) at the zoo

Check out the Sept-Oct 2011 photo album for pics from these events - there are some really good ones in there! You can also check out a visit to the MN Zoo to see the new penguin exhibit after a recent remodel at the zoo in the Nov-Dec 2011 album.


Friday, October 21, 2011

School Days

For many families, September means the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. Cole is an old pro at this routine, starting his junior year in high school. He has taken on a heavy class load this year, with lots of honors and AP classes, as he prepares for college. He's also added another band to his activities, now performing in Pep Band in addition to the Concert and Jazz Bands.

Heading out the door, ready for school
Heading out the door, ready for school

Zach and Alex, on the other hand, began their school careers this year, entering into Kindergarten. They are having a blast at school, and they are doing really well, especially with their letters and numbers. They really like their teacher, Mr. Kampa. We take the boys to school most days, but on Fridays when Daddy works from home, they get to take the school bus. Daddy then joins the class to help out for a few hours - something both he and the class really enjoy.

In addition to school, the Fall season meant lots of activities for Zach and Alex - flag football, joining the Cub Scouts as Lion Cubs, and swim lessons.  It's been a busy Fall!

The Sept-Oct 2011 photo album has pictures from Zach and Alex's first day at school and their first bus ride to and from school. There are also pictures from flag football, a family trip to the Scarecrow Festival at Emma Krumbee's, a playdate at the Festival with some of the boys' friends from New Horizon and a few fun activities around the house.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dells Part 2

On the train and ready for a ride
On the train and ready for a ride

Continuing on from the last post... The following day, we spent a day at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, which was the winter headquarters of the Ringling Bros. circus for many years. Zach and Alex even got to be *in* one of the circus shows, staring as an elephant and a tiger!

That evening, Joe and I escaped..er... went out for date night, enjoying a wonderful dinner at a cafe in downtown Dells and then playing some mini golf.

The next day was "Train Day" with lunch at Buffalo Phil's, which brings out drinks and food to guests via model trains. When they're not carrying food, they deliver smiles with favorite character toys and gadgets like bubble makers. There's also an arcade there, so we had some fun playing games after lunch. From there, we visited our favorite train museum - the Riverside & Great Northern Railway, where Papa and Joe are members.

The final day of the trip, we had fun playing around our resort - go-carts, mini golf (indoor and outdoor) and the outdoor waterpark. We did it all!

Check out all the rest of the pictures in the Dells 2011 photo album .

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dells Part 1

The Vandermarks with Paul Bunyan
The Vandermarks with Paul Bunyan

The 5 of us took a fantastic family trip to the Wisconsin Dells in August with Grandma Pat and Papa Bob. We stayed in the Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness Resort, where we were able to enjoy all sorts of fun things - indoor and outdoor waterparks and mini golf, go-carts, arcade games and more. We also visited some of our favorite Dells attractions: the Ducks, the R&GN Railway trains, Mt. Olympus amusement park and Circus Museum.

We took a ton of pictures so I split them into batches. The first couple of days, including some swim time and arcade games at the resort, a WI Duck tour, rides at Mt. Olympus and dinner at Paul Bunyan's Shanty, have been posted to the Dells 2011 photo album. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A big step

Zach and Alex are going to miss Ms Kate, who taught them for all 16 months they were at NHA
Zach and Alex are going to miss Ms Kate,
who taught them for all 16 months
they were at NHA

Just quick post for some fun pics... The big step was Zach and Alex's last day in the Pre-K class at New Horizon, which was celebrated with afternoon treats that we brought in for the class before they said goodbye to their teachers and friends. NHA did a great job getting them ready for their next big step: Kindergarten!

The July-Aug 2011 album has the pics from that day, along with photos from an afternoon at the Stages childrens' theater to see "Annie, Jr." and some family fun at the bowling alley (be sure to check out the video of Alex and Zach getting their groove on  when some dance music started playing for Cosmic Bowling - it's sure to make you smile!)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A year of fun in Pre-K

Alex and Zach in class
Alex and Zach in class

Zach and Alex spent the 2010-11 school year, along with the summers before and after, at New Horizon Academy in the Pre-Kindergarten class. They had an absolute blast learning and playing with their friends and their great teachers. Ms. Kate, the room's lead teacher, took pictures of the class frequently and posted them online for the parents to see all the fun things they were doing. I've posted the ones of the boys in the New Horizon - Preschool album. Come in and play!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Parades and picnics

A great day for a picnic!
A great day for a picnic!

The July photos in the July-Aug 2011 album feature two events: the annual BBQ Days parade in town and a fantastic day at one of our favorite parks. The BBQ Days parade is always a big hit, esp the bands (check out the video of Alex jamming!). And at Lake Minnetonka Regional Park, we had a blast playing on the playground and playing games and grilling a tasty picnic dinner.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If Dad ran the zoo

Thing 2, Thing 1 and Daddy with the Cat
Thing 2, Thing 1 and Daddy with the Cat

As I mentioned in the last post, we celebrated Father’s Day by spending a day at the Minnesota Zoo with two of the best dads I know – Joe and my dad, Bob. We even ran into our good friends Robert, Kwo Ue and their daughter, Athena! The zoo is always a great time, but it was extra fun thanks to Seuss on the Loose, an exhibit that featured the artwork of the great Dr. Seuss. Our own Thing 1 and Thing 2 were thrilled!

Papa and Grandma with their handsome grandsons
Papa and Grandma with their
handsome grandsons
The pics from the zoo trip are in the May-June album. Also added to the album are pictures from some Wii bowling, teeball (including team pictures!), a deep-dive during swim lessons, and videos of Z&A talking about a favorite book.

Zach and Alex also reached a big milestone in June: their first ride on big kid bikes! Yeah! They did great – and they were so proud of themselves!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Having a ball so far this summer

Take me out to the ballgame!
Take me out to the ballgame!

June continued to be a busy month in the Vandermark household, starting with a week after Z&A's graduation. It started with a Saturday trip to Target Field for the Accenture Family Social at the Twins game. It was a little ironic being at an Accenture-paid event, given that I was no longer employed by them since I had started a new job at UnitedHealth Group the week before, but you gotta love a free day of family fun! :)

The following day, we celebrated Joe's birthday, highlighted with a special cake he requested - a cream cheese pound cake with strawberry sauce - and a wonderful day spent together as a family.

From there it was all about sports - Zach and Alex started their very first swim lessons (such water babies, they are!) and their first season of full tee-ball. They of course loved every bit of it!

Check out the photos in the May-June album!

The end of the week finished with a Father's Day weekend trip to the MN Zoo (it really was a BUSY week!), but those pictures will be in the next batch uploaded.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pomp and circumstance

Our proud graduates
Our proud graduates

Zach and Alex hit a big milestone in June, graduating from preschool at New Horizon Academy in a special ceremony complete with caps and gowns, Pomp and Circumstance, certificates and very proud parents. They are so excited to be moving on to kindergarten this fall! Pictures from the graduation and from the class picnic hosted by some of the parents are in the May-June album, starting on page 2.

They also finally got to try out the awesome Razor scooters they got from Auntie Amy for their birthday (pics and a video are in the album!). They picked it up really quickly - but they're also very glad they have knee pads and elbow pads. They do, however, wish they had butt pads too. :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Animals, plants, moms and a little jazz

The latest batch of photos uploaded to the site includes a couple of stragglers from April added to the March-April album that give a glimpse of our crazy little boys - an elaborate Lego Star Wars scene showing their crazy creativity and the answer to one of life's mysteries: where missing socks go to hide.

A happy Mother's Day
A happy Mother's Day

In the May-June 2011 album, May started out with a 4H petting zoo at a garden center and the planting of baby trees on a beautiful Saturday. Next, Grandma Pat and I had a wonderful Mother's Day together, and Zach and Alex gave Grandma a great homemade gift. This batch finishes with a night of some hot jazz at Cole's jazz bad concert, performed in a great cabaret setting. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Catching up on all the photos posted

OK, so I've admittedly been terrible about blogging about all the events going on in our lives. I spend lots of time editing and posting new pictures, as you can sometimes see in the Recent Photos widget, but I never seem to get around to writing about it. Honestly, I think the photos tell a better story anyway (not to mention I'm already writing when I do the captions...). :-)
The Vandermarks, Sept 2010
The Vandermarks, Sept 2010
I'll try to get better about posting simple updates when a new batch of photos have been loaded (like the remainder of our April trip to AZ that uploaded last night), but in the meantime, here's just a straight list of the albums that have been updated/created since last Sept:

July-Aug 2010 - Teeball, BBQ Days, the zoo, Twins games (Z&A were on TV!)
Sept-Oct 2010 - the Scarecrow Festival, the circus, Halloween
Visit with Auntie Mary Ann - who came to visit us in Sept
Infiniti Crash II: The Deer - the results when a deer runs in front of a car doing 65 mph.
Nov-Dec 2010 - Christmas decorating, Thanksgiving in Chicago, big snow storms
Christmas 2010 - yep, pictures of presents and family at Christmas :)
Jan-Feb 2011 - Cole's 16th birthday, fun birthday parties, making cookies and craft projects
Zach and Alex's 5th birthday - including their 1st "friends" party
Mar-Apr 2011 - Karen's birthday, planting a garden
Spring Break 2011 - a few days of fun in Chicago
Arizona - April 2011 - a family get-together