Monday, March 19, 2018

Disney Day 1: Animal Kingdom

ISU Spring Break 2018 we ventured to Disney World!! How did we get from here to there?
We rented a 12-passenger van with the Frantz family for the week. 
 Yes, all the car seats fit and we had a DVD player for each row. PSA - the Normal Library has a myfi you can check out for up to two weeks......for free....unlimited data. In between getting caught up on emails, Brooke and I were able to get caught up on Greys!
 We drove overnight on the way there, which really wasn't that bad. The kids slept all night. We arrived at our resort and thanks to online shopping for groceries, we were set for the week!
On Sunday we went to Animal Kingdom. Since Brooke had previously worked at Disney, she organized all of our fast passes and basically our entire schedule. It was so nice to know we were getting to see so much, and experiencing the best of the parks. While the dads stood in line for the Avatar ride, we got to see and do plenty. The boys' first ride was the Dinosaur ride. Evan talks big....but he is the one in the red upfront....don't see him? Yea, that's because he was hiding half the ride!
 Evan also went with Brooke on the Everest rollercoaster. 
That was quite the coaster for the little guy!  

The Avatar line was we did a lot! We even got to see Mickey and Minnie!! 
So exciting to watch the kiddos!
 Later we found Doc McStuffin's!
 The Safari ride!
 We headed back to the condo for dinner and then went to the park for the night light show. So fun to see how they project images onto a wall of spraying water - just amazing! We caught one last ride before heading home. 
Disney Squad Party of 16: Let's Do This!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Quasquicentennial Family Farm!

The state of South Dakota recognized our family at the South Dakota State fair for having land in the same family for 125 years. Pictures from the fair are below and made for a fun birthday weekend for the boys. But first, for those who know my dad, know that he likes to tell stories, especially stories with Wilhelm and Wilhelmena. Here is the story about the land told straight from my dad!
Edward William Raeder (Evan, Jaden & Kylie's great-great Grandpa), a South Dakota homesteader, was born in Eldorado, Wisconsin, August 8, 1864, to Wilhelm and Wilhelmena Luedke Raeder. He came to Dakota Territory with his parents and his brother, Albert, on April 17th, 1888. They settled about 8 miles southeast of Webster, SD. On March 5, 1890, Edward went back to Wisconsin and married Marie Augusta Koplitz.  
Marie and Edward
In 1892 they moved three miles closer to Webster.  Wilhelm  purchased  160 acres of land and  Edward and Marie homesteaded the adjoining 160 acres.  For five years Edward dug wells, but never was successful getting water.  After President Grover Cleveland gave them the deed for the land, they moved the buildings  about  250 yards from Wilhelm's building site and used the same well.

By the early 1900's, Edward and Marie had accumulated 720 acres of land and things were going well. After the Great Depression, Edward and Marie owed an insurance company $11,000.00.  Marie said that was more than the land was worth and the insurance company wanted their money. Three of their sons received a Land Bank loan and each son purchased 240 acres. The sons were lucky and the rains came after a ten year drought and prices increased significantly. The sons purchased additional land and had their mortgages paid off by 1947.

Edward passed away September 24th, 1941 and Marie passed away September 30th, 1945.

George (Evan, Jaden and Kylie's Great Grandfather)  purchased 80 of the 160 acres that Edward homesteaded in 1892.  That land is still in our family after 125 years! 
Dad shared an abbreviated version of that story on stage at the fair. 
One of the best parts of the SD State Fair: All you can drink milk/chocolate milk!
 Thanks Great-Aunt Bondell for the carousel ride!
 Evan could not get enough of the baby chicks. No matter where we were on the fairgrounds, we somehow ended up back in this building about five times!

Thanks Grandpa Al for all you do as a farmer and keeping up the tradition of our family farm!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Labor Day Weekend in South Dakota!

We were welcomed to South Dakota at Aunt Laurie's house where the fiesta began! We always get spoiled with treats and get to stay up late at her place. 
 We spent the next day in Brookings and visited the Children's Museum. I loved playing grocery store with Kylie. 
 Evan entertained everyone as usual!
 I spoke to a class of senior nutrition students (trying to recruit for grad school at ISU!). Afterwards we visited the Dairy Bar for some SDSU ice cream. I don't know if I have been back to S.D. in the last 14 years without consuming SDSU ice cream! Too bad it doesn't transport well back to IL!

Cousin Elliot had quite the set up in his backyard! The kids had a blast!
In unrelated news, Evan lost his 2nd tooth the night before his 6th birthday! The Tooth Fairy did find him in South Dakota. 

We also attended an SDSU football game- Go Jackrabbits!!
 Grandma Linda with her grandkids!

Birthday Bash in South Dakota!

Labor Day weekend we enjoyed an end-of-summer trip to South Dakota. We had such a fun time with family celebrating the boys' 6th birthday! The night before their party the kids rode horses. I think Kylie now wants a horse for Christmas!

 What a better place to have a party than at the farm! Check out this playground! Evan's unfiltered excitement when he spotted the obstacle course with a gravity box attached. 

Thanks Aunt Laurie for the piƱata! Filled with sweet treats!
We did make them wait until the very end before the water could be turned on. Who knew how much fun sand, dirt, and water could be?!
Our Family
 Aunt Laurie
 Great-Aunt Bondell
Grandpa Al & Grandma Pam; Cousin Elliot & Grandma Linda

The boys were excited to tell their classmate's all about their fun on the farm!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Correlation or Coincidence?

On Saturday Evan, Jaden and I rode bikes to Uptown Normal's Sweet Corn Festival. We each enjoyed an ear of corn. Of course we also got some kettle corn for the ride home! 
Was that ear of corn responsible for putting that final pull on Evan's loose tooth?! Or was it just a coincidence it fell out the next day? 
Evan was SO excited!! Now, let's hope he falls asleep so the Tooth Fairy can visit!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Kindergarten....Times Two!

Evan and Jaden could not have been more excited to start Kindergarten! It wasn't until a couple days before school started that we knew for sure they would be in separate classes. Evan had tears in his eyes, but then was excited about making new friends. The night before school started, the school had an open house to drop off school supplies. I should have taken a picture of my cart at Target! 3 or 4 boxes of everything, times two, times 17 items! 
Evan is in Ms. Armstrong's class with 21 kiddos and a couple hamsters! 

Jaden is in Ms. Mandros' class with 21 kiddos and a back door that connects to Evan's classroom!

Their school drop off is from 7:30-7:40am. If you have seen our house in the 7:30am Evan is usually still sleeping, Kylie recently got up, I just returned from working out, and Nathan is walking out the door for work. Clearly, we are working on a new routine! 

The first day we parked and walked with them to find their kindergarten line. At 7:40 the lines of students walked inside from 5th grade until K. Then they divided the kindergarteners into their class lines and told the kids to wave to their loved ones that brought them. Everyone else waved to their parents, while Evan and Jaden turned to each other and waved:) Kylie was the only was who cried on the way back to the car!

The first day went great, although I am learning I really have TWO kindergarteners. It was kind of perviously 1.5 as they are like a packaged deal. I previously took them together to daycare, and then together to preschool, and now I have two separate classrooms to figure out all the policies and procedures. For example, Evan's teacher passed out certificates for the first day of school; Jaden's did not. Jaden gets to bring in non-food treats for his birthday; Evan does not. Library books are due Friday for Evan; Tuesday for Jaden. Jaden's class has rest time; Evan's does not. I will hear a story from one that he had art that day, the other one yells, 'No we didn't!' I hear this is only the start with siblings! 
They do get to see each other lots throughout the day. After school the first day we celebrated with the biggest cones ever thanks to the summer reading program coupons they earned! Delicious!
  I love to watch them interact together, but look forward to having them develop their independence and grow as individuals.