why we dig minnesota

dear diary:

there are so many things i've meant to share with you, but i just haven't had a moment to spare.

first of all, my eldest turned 13. i know. you're all, "what?! no!!" but seriously, yeah. he did.

it's crazy, and i'm still processing it myself.

he seems to be going through these adjustments of maturity. much more likely to come give me a hug or wrap his arm around me or rest his chin on my shoulder. because my shoulder is lower than his chin. it's like he's realizing that he's growing up quickly and maybe he'd better get some snuggling in while he still can.

he decided that all he really wanted to do for his birthday was have some buddies over for pizza and to play minecraft all night long. which they did. they started some world and didn't quit playing until they defeated it at 6 a.m.

he is also learning to march in band, and i think he's kind of digging it. he still likes band, but whether it sticks into high school remains to be seen.

henry also finished out the high school swim season with a pretty decent showing at jv sectionals. and at the awards banquet at the end of the season, the coach handed out records books to all of the boys. in it are lists of the top 10 swimmers in each age group for every event ... records going back to 1992 ... and henry's name was listed in the top 10 in every event he swam over the course of the season. ie his name was on the list in about eight different events, including taking the #3 spot for the 50 backstroke in the medley relay.

huge accomplishment.


(my kid, without the cap. he won't wear one.)

academically, henry is also still walking that line between making us very proud and making us pull our hair out. when he's on top of things, he's ON. but when he's off and not feeling like he needs to turn things in, we have trouble. however, his ancient civ/social studies class recently took part in the world savvy project, and henry's team's project was one of five from the two local middle schools to participate in the regional competition, held at macalester college.

the boys did a great job presenting their project about ocean pollution and, specifically, the trash islands in the pacific, during the interview process. then they separated into different groups for a roundtable discussion of world and environmental topics. at the end of the day, henry's group scored high enough to move onto the national online competition in may. pretty awesome.

he's had a good couple of months.

harper has also been a busy girl.

she turned eight. (again, "what?? no way!!" but yes. way.)

she is still 110% her own person, for better or worse. no one pushes my buttons more or makes my heart flutter quite so much. she's spectacular. and infuriating.

for her birthday, she also chose to keep it simple, even though the amount of time she spent deciding on her guest list would suggest otherwise. this girl's heart is so big that she wanted to make sure the girls she invited were all friends and knew each other and would have a great time together. in the end, she chose two neighbor friends and her "very best best friend," cecelia.

they played wii for about three minutes, decorated their own cupcakes, drew a gallery full of art, decorated the rest of the cupcakes because they ran out of things to do, and cecelia drew a mustache on harper. and that was that.

speaking of art, harper has become obsessed with drawing. every day, a new stack of pictures appear. typically, she draws mermaids and dragons. or herself in various stages of growth, as a tiny series of paper dolls that she then cuts out and leaves scattered all over the place. one day, she had a president homework assignment and chose to draw three presidents for extra credit: eisenhower, arthur, and obama. and then she added the capitol and a tree for extra extra credit.

she's been taking a class through community education called "young rembrandts," where she is learning actual techniques and how to "see" what she wants to draw. her skills are fine tuning, and she loves it.

she is also becoming rather musical. i think i'm going to sign her up for piano lessons because she appears to have the ability to pick out, learn, and memorize songs on her little keyboard. imagine what she could do with a full keyboard and knowledge of where the notes are! the other day, she came to me and played a song she had taught herself: the "do re me" song, all the way up to "fa," when she ran out of notes on her piano.


speaking of music, her school's class concert was last week, and harper was selected to be in the kazoo band. she thought that was pretty great. and played the kazoo most of the weekend.

currently, harper is fighting a cold and is on day 2 of laying on the couch, snuffling and drinking tea and watching "my little pony."

in other news, the kids just had their first-ever snow day. we got a foot of snow - not normally something that would slow us down, but the timing was bad for plows and school buses.

so while henry shoveled, harper dug out a little igloo, made a pantry, and filled it with sunny d.

and while i was taking photos of that, mario snuck out of the front door to see what this "snow" business was all about.

half a second after this photo was taken, his paw touched the snow, he jumped half a foot straight in the air, and ran back in the house. where he belongs.

later that afternoon, harper wanted to check out her sunny d to see if it was frozen.

it was not. but i told her that as long as she was out there, she might as well get the mail, too.

and that's what we've been up to. or, at least, a very glossed over and abbreviated version. but now i've caught you up. and now i can go back to ignoring you for another couple of months.



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