first days- 2nd grade and a new preschool

Ryan started school the last week of August. He declared that he wanted to ride the bus in the morning this year (as opposed to just the afternoon bus that he’d been doing the past two years), which means a 6am wake up call and a 6:41am bus stop pick-up.

at the breakfast table, in a good mood, and looking chipper!

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playing with ninja lego men

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He looks worried below, but really he was fine.

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Sam started in the blue room at a new preschool this year. He was excited that daddy could also be along to drop him off on his first day. Here they are, a matching pair.

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He was nervous and has been kinda slow to warm up to the new setting. They have a really fun outdoor space that Sam likes.

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(The first couple days we were there for orientation and meet-the-teacher, Sam decided these were blocks of cheese, and he set up a cheese shop and I got to be the shopper who was in great need of cheese purchases.)


summer activities

Quick!! Before I forget…must write down for my own sake the different activities and camps that the boys did this past summer. Looking back on the summer, it seems I signed them up for a great number of things, but in reality it felt like the perfect balance of scheduled/structured, and unscheduled/spur of moment/hang around time. Also, when a kid’s “camp” runs three mornings a week for three hours, there’s still a lot of open time to be had.

Ryan (age 7)

-Played baseball 2x/week in May and June


-Washburn soccer camp (very well-run, had a ton of fun, LOTS of exercise. 2hrs/morning for 4 days, but will def do again)
-Kiddywampus “build a fort” art camp with friend Luke (great camps here, he liked it a lot, spent 3 mornings working on gigantic fort)


-Kiddywampus “construction art camp” (3 mornings, took this with Sam. Both boys had a lot of fun, built marble runs, vehicles, robot.)
-Lego camp @Lynnhurst, Mpls Parks & Rec with friend Ryan H. (4 mornings, Lego play and activities, included outside time.)
-Kiddywampus “Star Wars art camp” (3 mornings, took this with Sam. Star Wars themed activities and art creations. They loved it).
-The Works Engineers’ Camp (4 mornings, took with friends Luke and Liam). Lot’s of fun science activities, brought stuff home, explored museum, some outside time.


Nothing scheduled for either kid. Got dentist appts in, spent five days in Duluth, had annual Guthrie/Mill City outing, went to some pools and parks. School started 8/25!

Sam (age 4)


-Little Learners summer preschool @ Pearl (1 week, 3 mornings). Coincided with Ryan’s soccer camp week.


-Kiddywampus “construction art camp” (with Ryan, see above)
-Kiddywampus “Star Wars art camp) (with Ryan, see above)
-Little Learners summer preschool @ Pearl (2 weeks, 3 mornings, coincided with the weeks Ryan did Lego camp and The Works camp)


Nothing scheduled, see above. Sam didn’t start preschool till 9/9.


My thoughts… it was nice having a week off between when school was out and when any camp began. July was a long month (5 weeks worth of stuff)- didn’t plan anything for week of 4th of July. Four weeks in a row of different camps and driving kids to different places two of the four weeks got to be a lot of driving, but they really enjoyed each camp they did, so I’d do it similarly in the future. Every afternoon and many Thurs/Fri were open. In August, three full weeks of nothing planned out felt a bit daunting, but it ended up being ok. Boys had a little too much “togetherness” time and were in each others’ hair for most of the month, but I think scheduling more camps would have been overkill. All in all, it was a great summer filled with lots of playtime outdoors with the neighbors, 3-4 trips to Duluth, park visits, pool visits, bike rides, water balloons, hose attacks, etc etc.

(I have no photos of anyone’s “structured” summer activities. This is the closest I got…a pic of the two Ryans riding home from lego camp.)

spring break ’14

Uh, this post was started in May. Took place in March/April. And I’m publishing it in June.

For spring break of this year we remained in-state. Which was a big mistake thanks to a never-ending winter. Our week started with Ryan doing some independent bike riding. I waited on a corner and he went ahead and took a loop by himself and came back to me. Screaming and crying and with a road rash chin. Pat had to come pick us up in his ambulance. The next night we went out to dinner after a very casual day to a very casual restaurant, and both the boys decided to dress up in jeans and button downs. Which is always noteworthy.

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see here? snow/ice banks almost melted

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Our travels took us to Duluth.

April 2:


April 3: Crazy town



April 4:

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We were stranded awhile but eventually made it home. We had a big 4 year old’s birthday party to plan, so at least the week went out on a high note.



while walking/biking to the ice cream shop with Sam…

Sam’s riding along on his bike. All of a sudden he stops and sets his bike over on the sidewalk. I ask what he’s doing and he says “ah just lookin’ at my chain.” Pokes and touches the chain. I ask him how it looks. And he says “it looks pretty perfect.”


Later he sees a discarded beer bottle in the grass alongside the street. “Why did somebody throw that glass of beer right there? I bet it was a dad. Because dads always drink beer.” Then I say “that dad isn’t setting a very good example for his kids if he throws his empty beer bottles on the side of the road in the grass.” Then Sam says, “well I bet it wasn’t OUR dad who did that.”


Ryan’s 7th bday

We had Ryan’s birthday party on Friday evening of his actual birthday. He had said for a long time he wanted a party at Edinborough, so we decided to combine family with friends and just do one bash. (Even though the late April weather was gorgeous that evening…inside of Edinborough we were.)

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All of Ryan’s favorite and most important people were there, including the two Grandmas and Grandpas, cousins Brady and Brynn, and friends Sophia, Emily, Luke, Jack and Ryan H.

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The cake? Star Wars. The scene where Darth Vader battles Luke Skywalker in the lava.

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And since Sam had a pinata, Ryan really wanted one too. He picked out a transformers pinata, which was completely destroyed by the two boys within minutes. They broke the pinata in the privacy of their own home the next day.

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Really can’t believe we have a seven year old amongst us. I remember when he was born, thinking about a child at age seven was UNimaginable. There was no way a newborn could EVER be a seven year old. And yet…

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For the record- things that Ryan likes at age 7:

  • Star Wars
  • Magic Tree House chapter books
  • Legos
  • physical activity, such as running around (shouting), climbing, exploring
  • hanging out/helping out with older babies and toddlers
  • playing with Sam/fighting with Sam
  • TV/ipad


Sam’s birthday this year- we celebrated on his actual day at our house with some family.

Sam got kind of shy and embarrassed by all the birthday attention. This is the best group cousin shot that I got.

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The sun was out so we did some biking/running around. (Notice the SNOW. This was April 6).


Sam remembered real fast that he had learned how to ride a two wheeler back in the fall. This spring he pretty much took off on the pedal bike. Was a little slow with the braking and going down hills (?), but he’s already moved up to Ryan’s old 16″ sized bike as of this writing (6/14).


We crammed all five Josephson cousins around our teeny kid table in the kitchen. Sam’s food request for his birthday lunch was hot dogs. Silly face pictures…

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Sam had a hard time coming up with what he wanted his cake to look like this year. I went so far as to show him cakes on Pinterest. As we were scrolling through, seeing Star Wars cakes and ninja cakes and race car cakes and soccer cakes, Sam exclaims “THAT’S the cake I want mommy!!! Pink with sprinkles!!” Which was such a great answer as far as I’m concerned, because that’s just the kind of cake I’m an expert at making!


Sam got very self-conscious when all eyes were on him during the candles and singing. In fact, he was almost about to burst into tears when the singing began. Finally his emotions came exploding out in the form of an adorable blushing face and the biggest smile and laugh I’ve ever seen.

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This is going down as one of my favorite photos of all time.



The only other thing Sam r-e-a-l-l-y wanted for his birthday was a pinata. Uncle T and Aunt Kim gave him this one. The boys loved it.


Ryan was thrilled to give Sam this plastic sword from the costume shop…

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My darling sons and I.


It was nice enough out to play some soccer with Sam’s new soccer ball and cones too.

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All in all a great day, I think he had a fun 4yo birthday celebration.