Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pioneer Children Sang as They Walked

As a family, we often take walks on Sundays. Sometimes we have a spot in mind, but more often than not we get in the car and drive until we find a park or green area that looks interesting. One warm, muggy Sunday, July 24 to be exact, we drove a little north, got lost and found a pretty park.

The date, July 24 is special because it is the day Brigham Young and his team first entered what was to become Utah. Of course, it's a big day in Utah, but it's also a time for Mormons outside of the intermountain west to remember the pioneers who were forced from their home in the east and built a new life in the west. So it was fun to find this monument on our walk. It is a tribute to the pioneers who left their homes (some of them forced as well) in the east and came to build new homes in Minnesota. Proudly, the Martins (through my father) claim that pioneer stock as well.
"The monument, hewn from Minnesota granite, portrays a pioneer family of three generations with a rifle, axe and handle of a plow. On the reverse side are carved sheaves of grain, representing the product for which Minneapolis and the Northwest have become most famous. Below this symbol is a Native American chief offering a peace pipe to Father Hennepin." (quoted from mpls Park & Rec site)

Because the park was so picturesque, I had Emma snap of pregnant picture of me.

And then I asked David to take one of me with all the kidilins. He took many pictures and proclaimed that I looked great. "But I look so tired and puffy!" I said when I saw them. "But that's what you are." He said with love and concern. *sigh* How can you argue with such disgusting logic.

I took this one of my poor feet: tired and puffy. I must remember that pregnant women crossed the plains with much less comfortable foot ware. Who am I too complain?

A walking bridge over the Mississippi River. The gentleman in the background is fishing. I just get such a kick every time I see such a "rural" activity being done in such an "urban" area. But I really put this picture up because of Calvin's pose. Any time this boy has to stand still, he kicks his leg up behind him and grabs it, lets it go, and then kicks up the other leg and grabs it. He alternates legs until he begins moving again. In other words, there is no still in standing still for Calvin. In fact, there is no still in the boy at all.

An abandoned train bridge crossing the Mississippi made it possible for us to make a large loop on our walk instead of back tracking. It was strong but swayed and had large gaps between the wooden ties. I was surprised that it wasn't blocked off--not even a no trespassing sign. Of course, there was one on the other side. But that's a little late.

Back home, we put on our jammies and ate the "Happy Pioneer Day" chocolate that grandma sent. It's not traditional to send chocolate, but it as good an excuse as any, and it should be!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Powderhorn Canoes

Another Minneapolis institution that I cannot say enough good things about is the Park and Rec system. They have sports and clubs and playgrounds and pools and classes, free ice skating in the winter and free canoeing in the summer! That's right, all you have to do is show up at the appointed time and they give you a PFD, a boat, and five minutes of instruction. The rest is up to you.

We arrived one Saturday afternoon in July and snagged two of the canoes right away. Willa and Calvin got in with me. I was the canoe steerer in the back (five minutes isn't enough to learn technical terms) while Calvin was the muscle up front. We used Willa as ballast.

Emma, Enoch, and Taran set off in their own canoe.

Here is a picture of Martin Canoe 2 coming in to ram us. They had a hard time working together, but finally made it around the lake.

Calvin and I did a much better job in Martin Canoe 1 until the two year old weight in the middle realized that she could crawl around the canoe and put her hands in the water.

Nothing says summer in Minnesota than a day on the lake. Thank you Minneapolis Park and Rec!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Tennis

I've talked about it on this blog before, but I love to tell people about it: Inner City Tennis is AWESOME! We love it both Winter and Summer. In the summer there is a small fee, but it's worth it and you meet in the park. We chose Powderhorn park this year.

The first hour Enoch and Calvin had their lesson. Emma and Taran would hang out with friends while I took Willa for a walk around the lake.

Then during the second hour Emma and Taran would have a lesson.

While Enoch, Calvin, Willa, and I played at one of the playgrounds.
This schedule lasted daily for about 4 weeks.

By the end, we had made some good friends and learned a lot about tennis.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Playgroup

This summer we joined our church playgroup.  There was a lot of park play dates with swings and slides and even splash pools

Willa and Enoch in the Wabun Park splash pool.
But one of the best outings was to the Quaking Bog.  Cool trails, beautiful vistas, mud!

Emma took this picture.

Haily (Emma's friend), Emma, Taran, Calvin, Enoch, and Willa (off camera).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Looking down at Minneapolis

Earlier this summer I scored some library passes to visit the Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis. At the time it was built it was the tallest building in the Midwest.

It was modeled after the Washington Monument but is really a commemoration of the decadence of the roaring '20s. However, the shape of the building does explain the bust of our first president in the tiny museum visitors must walk through before going out to the observation deck.

One of the reasons we leave the house is to get away from the screens (computer, television, Wii) and learn about the real world. Fortunately for my children the museum had it's own screen! They watched old cartoons like Felix the Cat and newsreels as aptly as any Pixar flick.

Emma did finally get away from the shows to snap a few pictures. Here is one she took of the Foshay when it was first built.

When we finally got outside the view was magnificent! The Foshay is no longer the tallest building--not even close--but you can still see a lot of doings from out there.

Here's another picture Emma took. It is the reflection of the Foshay on a neighboring building. I wish I knew downtown well enough to say which building it is.

Willa and her cousin, Elizabeth, couldn't see anything unless hoisted up. Even then what is tall buildings, tiny cars, and tree tops compared to running in circles around a skyscraper?

Aunt Cheryl and Elizabeth sweetly showing off the original sign.

And the Martins--blurry and noisy--yep, that's us.

On the way home...Calvin having a West Side Story dance moment as we made our way to light rail.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Emma Cooks

This summer Emma spent her time learning how to cook. She went to the library and chose cook books and then from those books, chose recipes that she wanted to try. Emma is already a good baker, but cooking main dishes was new to her. Understandably, she did not like handling meat. Still she pressed through and cooked us delicious offerings like stir fry pork and bok choy and this dish, rosemary lamb with red potatoes...



Emma at 12

Emma has reached the magical age of 12. She has been growing and learning and coming into her own for many years now, but it seems the things have really changed this summer.

Understandably, she doesn't always want to join in the activities I have planned for summer--hanging out in the chidren's room at the Y, park playgroups, and such. So she makes me a deal: she stays home and works, while I leave and play! I get to go to the gym, she does the laundry and makes cookies. Taran, Enoch, Calvin, Willa and I play at the park, Emma vacuums and washes dishes. It's like being in two places at once. We both love the arrangement I get work done without doing it and Emma gets the space she craves. WIN!

These pictures here are of the last Activity Day Girls outing. Activity Days for Girls is a program done by our church. In it they learn everything from the riduculous to the sublime. This last activity was at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The woman in the middle is the tour guide.

At the end of the tour, all the girls hurried out to the parking garage ahead of Emma and me. We were confused over the sudden departure until we got close and realized there was a small surprise for Emma, cupcakes and balloons and hugs goodbye.

This is Sister Emily Pernu; she has been Emma's Sunday school teacher since Emma was 9. She is an amazing person and a terrific role model for Emma.

Can you believe how grown up she is?

Summer Outing, the Bakken

We finally made a trip to the Bakken Museum. It's one of the last museums in the Twin Cities geared toward children that we've visited. Now what are we going to do? I guess when you finish the list, you just sit back and enjoy the memories until you kick that bucket. Here are the memories...

Willa, cheesing it up in front of some crank battery that rings a bell when you turn the handle. It's right up her alley. I'm glad it's in a museum and not our home.

Emma operates the mini magnetic crane.

Ham sandwich Enoch poses with two magnets that make waves on an (I can't believe I'm going to describe it this way) old fashioned television set.

Calvin is wired to play a game of brain ball. The person with the most relaxed brain activity wins. Now this is one thing I do wish I had in my home. Whenever anyone of my kids got to intense--which is often--I could simply yell, "Go play your brain dead game... RIGHT NOW!"

There was a demonstration that day with Lego Mindstorms. Taran has used them before in the Lego club at school. He made several friends right there on the floor of the museum as he helped them program their robots. Taran wants one for Christmas and they're only anywhere from 300 to 900 bucks! We will continue to find places to use them outside of our home.

Not surprisingly, one of the favorite spots in the mansion turned museum was the reading library. What can I say, we're incurable nerds who know how to have a good time.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wonder of a Willa

For some time I've been taking candid shots of Willa. But there isn't really a good place to put random photos in our Martin life blog. But what these pictures represent is so much a part of day to day life in the Martin house. So here you go, a grouping of pictures of what it is to be the two year old in a family of seven...

Willa loves her brother's pull ups and often tries to put them on. Sometimes she gets it. Sometimes not so much.

Willa beast sitting on the stairs with her balloon, train slippers, a "pretty" (aka cheap plastic necklace) in her hair, and a bloody nose.

Will'a-the-wisp sitting and reading her favorite Dick and Jane (often pronounced "Chicken Jane" or "Dick and Sally") to her baby doll.

Wide eyed Willa after finding my lipstick.

Willa gorilla in battle gear.

Willa-zilla throwing a tantrum.

And taking a time out.

This is the face you got when you ask Ms. Wills to "smile."

Silly Willy grinning like a cheshire cat after eating/smearing a cupcake on the way to some appointment.

Willa chinchilla in her lady bug dress, dressed as a lady bug at the library. Love the hands on the hips.

Crazy baby Willa tied up into a swing and thrown around by her older siblings down in the basement.

We love our wonderful, wild, wily Willa.