Monday, June 29, 2009

Jacob's 13th Birthday

It looks like a miniature fire truck, but it's next to a billboard along the freeway.
Driving through South Dakota to Pierre, there was a big storm abrewing, with beautiful dark clouds. I had to stop and take some quick photos of the kids.

We started the day with a dental checkup for Jacob. Surprisingly, he has no cavities this time around. That means he earned $5.00. He hever brushes his teeth, so I usually expect cavities. It was a nice surprise.
We planned to leave at around 9, but of course didn't actually get on the road until 10:30. We had to do a quicky pinata smash. I didn't get any pictures of it, but it was so basic. I had the kids help me paper mache a balloon over the past couple of weeks, then Justin painted it yellow yesterday, and filled it last night. It looked like a yellow happy face. Jacob said it looked like the Wal Mart smiley face. All kids got several hits before it broke. Tony and Grace happened to stop by, so they got to give it a few whacks too.
Driving through Mankato, I mentioned to Justin that Arby's has the 5 regular sandwiches for $5. He said that's worth turing around for. He got 10, yes 10, roast beef sandwiches. Jacob loves Arby's, so we thought it would be a great place for him. We also got an orange dream shake, and Jacob got an apple turnover. I think all sandwiches were eventually eaten throughout the day. We didn't eat dinner.

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Justin visited two bike shops. During the first one, I took the kids to McKennan park. It is a beautiful park. I like how this city puts lots of effort into their public areas. There were many of flower gardens and a nice park area, even a free wading pool.

During the second shop, we went to McDonalds and got ice cream for Jacob's birthday. Ice cream just makes things feel better.

Tonight we are staying in Pierre, South Dakota at an AmericInn. We got here about 8 pm and the kids really wanted to swim. Isaac cracks me up. He's forever on a quest to make a whirlpool, no matter the size of the pool.

We all drank hot chocolate and listened to Dad read about the rameumptum in the scriptures. Here's to hoping for a nice night's rest. Making our way towards Lander, WY to meet my parents and go backpacking in the Wind Rivers for a coule of nights, if all goes well. !!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy Moments

I'm so happy for little moments that make me smile. Ammon is such a treat to have around. I've never had such a helpful toddler. He loves to help and be in the middle of anything going on, no matter the task. He often will do something for you, like get you a glass of water, then tell you "thanks Mom." I also love how he says "flamily" and "nayvors" (for neighbors). I love that he likes to snuggle and will often come take naps with me on his own. He definitely has his moments, but he's a keeper.

Parting shots

First Dahlia blooms
What a sad raspberry plant. I'm hoping it will make it. I just planted it a few days ago.
We didn't get many peas this year. They're a special treat for all.
Also planted grape and blackberry starts this year. What will I do if we ever move?!

My zucchinis always look like this, but rarely turn into a pickable size. It just shrivels up. Any suggestions? I've tried "artificial insemination" previous years, but hasn't worked.
First baby tomato.
It's hard for me to leave my garden for such a length of time. Justin is a great dad and husband, but doesn't know a weed from Adam. We have sprinklers set up to take care of the main two gardens during the time we'll both be gone. I've never spent so much time outside as I have this year, primping and staking, weeding etc, so I feel a special attachment to my plants. I get so excited to see developments. Like the tomato for example; even though I don't eat them. Even noticed the broccoli is just starting to get little heads. Baby green beans are so cute...about 1-2 inches long.
Oooh, they are so yummy.
I'm hoping we catch that dang mole that has recently been reeking havoc in our yard and my garden.
Gardening brings me so much happiness. I'm thankful to be in a place and home that I can enjoy it and learn how to do it better.

Birthday Donuts

We're in the middle of getting ready to leave on Monday for our annual trip to Utah. It's adding stress to the birthdays that are at the end of June. Jacob's is on Monday, the day we plan to leave, so we had donuts in lieu of cake (for him and Ammon). I did not want to bake two cakes etc. Everyone was more than happy to have donuts anyway. Might become a Dittmer tradition.
This is what was left of Ammon's donut. He came moseying outside munching on his donut, so we had to stop everything and have a quick birthday song, blow out candle ceremony before it was entirely gone.
Jacob chose a sugar covered cherry filled delight. I can't believe he's going to be 13. Well, I should say I can believe HE'S going to be 13. But hard to believe I have a 13 year old kid.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Birthday Boy!

He's four!
His Sunbeam teacher, Sister Brooks, brought Ammon a present: his own package of gum and a magnifying glass. She knows his heart.

We have a tradition in our family that Justin brought: tying string all over the house leading you to your presents, but you have to move a ring along the string to get there. The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Ammon got a little frustrated a couple of times, but never fear, Allison and Isaac were hovering nearby to give him a hand.

On the way home...

Justin caught me...
I had to stop and try Wisconsin squeaky cheese. I've only ever had Cache Valley Gossner squeaky cheese. It seemed about the same. I'm not supposed to be eating cheese.
I took a day off.
Lots of Mennonites ride bikes.
I love farms. This is on the drive to the Mennonite bike shop that Justin works with. The kids and I spent half an hour in their general store. I liked pointing out the young kids doing lots of work, without a grown up looking over their shoulder.
Isaac found a treasure in the store: a bag of just marshmallows. The type from cereal. 24 hours later, the bag is gone, with help from friends and family.
Ammon got a Happy meal; a rarity for us. He liked being able to choose which type of pop he'd get. Isaac liked sneaking sips.
We also got Birthday ice cream for everyone, including Mom.

Wisconsin Quick Trip

The family minus Jacob, went with Justin on one of his overnight work trips to Wisconsin so we could stay in a motel and get away for a bit.

Ammon isn't a fan of swimming so much and was happier to throw water on Dad.

There were lot of balls in the pool. Isaac loved playing Monkey in the Middle and seeing how hard he could hit Dad.


Allison acts like water is home to her. She loves to swim.
The kids got a $3.99 medium pizza from Dominoes. Justin and I tried Chinese food from a brand new restaurant next to the AmericInn. This place didn't spare any details. Gorgeous and so much atmosphere. Justin got beef lo mein and I had general tso chicken. I'm trying not to eat gluten and milk products (plus about 2 million other types of foods), so this was a treat to eat something other than lima beans and hash browns.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Breakfast

Justin requested sunny side up eggs.

Allison made this at the end of the school year. There was a panicked moment when it couldn't be found.
Isaac gave Justin a nice silver pen that he found in the playground.
I gave him Snickers and Twix ice cream bars, and a box of Honey Buns.
Isaac and Allison made oven pancakes from scratch almost entirely by themselves.
Now that's impressive!
Justin got to speak in Sacrament Meeting. I think he did a superb job!
We played a family game of Settlers of Cataan. Justin won.

Do you see what I see? I spy a ....
You might have to click on the picture to see it. Not planned on, but funny nonetheless. These are sunflowers planted by Jacob and Isaac.
Finally have some holly hocks that haven't been eaten to death this year.
I love summer tosies (these are Ammon's).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rainy Walk

Today had the perfect conditions for a walk in the rain. Relatively warm, nice drizzle, good sized puddles, and no lightening or thunder. It's rare to get the perfect combination here in Minnesota.
I didn't take my camera with me, but Ammon and Isaac were the lucky two who wanted to be adventuresome. We walked our regular route to the park and back home.
Isaac found a chain which he had to keep, and measured how many links deep each puddle was.
This lovely gem was found by our neighbors garbage can. It still has gas in it - and my hands can attest to this by their smell right now - and sounds like it might start. Justin isn't home yet; he's got the manly touch. We have lots of trees that could use some benefit from this chainsaw. If it doesn't work, back to square one: leave the trees as is.
*****Ammon just came inside and informed me that he saw two toads. "They had to get out."

I asked Jacob to wash his hands before we started making cherry turnovers. I found this later in the day.
Need to add some clarification:
This is his hand print on the bathroom mirror. Typical Jacob behavior in the Dittmer Household.

Next up: Allison

Allison has been begging me to make chocolate covered pretzels for months. The problem is that as soon as I buy a bag, they're pretty much eaten. Today, the chance came up and I found some chocolate. Happy Allison. This is also something the family likes (except me). It's a fun treat.

Jacob's Turn

Jacob LOVES turnovers from Arby's. And I mean loves. When he was looking through a cookbook and saw these, his mind was made up.
They were quite messy and not much likeness to the picture in the book, but he's excited nonetheless. No one has tried one yet; we're saving them for dessert tonight.


It's that time of year again for strawberry freezer jam. This is a family favorite. It's hard to believe, but every one of us likes it. That's hard to come by.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Family Time

Ammon helped me plant potatoes. A couple are finally popping up.

He's still three for another couple of weeks.
I love Allison's eyes. They remind me of the rings you can count on a tree.