A first time Minnesota Mama sharing the little things in life that make it so worth living!

Category Archives: Calvin

Hello World!  We’re finally back into this blogging thing-a-ma-jig after a very long winter & spring!  I’m anxious to tell you what we’ve been up to these last few months but first and foremost I have to acknowledge the passing of someone special in our lives.  Nick’s Grandmother Carol Trevena passed away a few weeks ago.  Carol may or may not have been one of the only people to read this blog and I know it brought her a lot of joy.  She loved her Grandson Nick and her Great-Grandson Calvin equally as much even if she only met him twice.  We will miss sweet Grandma Carol’s kind words and big heart.

So what have we been up to these many months?  I tried to think of a few highlights so here is a top ten list in no particular order:

1.) We watched it snow, and thaw a little, and snow, and snow, and be cold and cloudy and windy and then snow again.  Calvin has been very anxious for summer to finally roll around.  He really started taking off and walking on his own around 13 months and he hasn’t slowed down since.  We are loving the outdoors and Calvin’s mobility!

Snow melt!  Little did Cal know the snow would stick around for almost another three months.

Snow melt! Little did Cal know the snow would stick around for almost another three months.

2.) We sold our sweet little house in St. Louis Park.  I still get very emotional when I think about the house that Calvin came home to.  We had so many memories in that house and I’m still mourning the convenience of St. Louis Park!  We are loving our new house in Chanhassen and know we will have many great memories to come in that house too!


3.) Calvin started to grow some hair.  He rocked a pretty sweet mullet/rat tail for a few months before he finally got his first haircut in June.



3.) We fed a giraffe!  We love going to the Naples Zoo when we are visiting Grammy and Al-Pal in Florida and the latest exhibit is the giraffes.  For a pretty penny you can even feed them a few romaine leaves!


5.) While in Florida Calvin was able to really dig his toes into the sand (and proceed to put the sand in his mouth)!  Calvin visited Grammy and Al-Pal when he was just a few weeks old but we loved this recent trip to Florida because Calvin was so cognizant of his new surroundings.  Green grass, the smell of salt in the air, colorful flowers, warm sand-Cal was so curious and took it all in.




6.) In order to keep up with his growing body Calvin explored new foods!  While Calvin still struggles to sleep through the night he doesn’t put up too much of a fuss when it comes to food.  At Easter brunch Calvin’s intake rivaled the rest of the family.  No mimosas for him- just to be clear.


7.) Loving the park across the street!  One of the perks of our new house is the park that’s right across the cul-de-sac.  Calvin ventures to the park on a daily basis.  Some days it’s literally the first thing he wants to do.  Heaven forbid Mom or Dad get a chance to get a cup of coffee in first.  The photo below was taken on a Saturday morning at about 6:45 a.m.  Christmas jammies in May and all.


8.) Calvin hit a major milestone in May when he moved from the infant room up to the toddler room at school!  The kiddos don’t sleep in cribs after the infant room but sleep on cots and are essentially free to roam as they please (sort of).  I was convinced Calvin wouldn’t nap at all unless he was confined to a crib.  To my pleasant surprise, Calvin goes down like a little champ and naps for at least two hours everyday.  Calvin also gets to go swimming, have art time and music class once each week.  I am so thankfull for our childcare at the Jewish Community Center!  They are the best!



9.) Calvin loves to read!  He takes a book off the shelf, finds the nearest reader and scoots his little but into their lap and is all eyes and ears.


10.) What books does Calvin love to read?  Books about transportation of course!  Choo- choo, zoooooooom, brrrrrrum, honk- honk, ding-ding are all a part of our daily vocabulary.   We can’t drive past a boat on a trailer or go by a truck without the “brrrrrooomm” noise coming from the backseat.  Why are boys so interested in vehicles?  I’m sure there are girls out there that are super into bulldozers as well (more power to ya sisters) but it screams boy to me.


You are growing up so quickly Calvi (as we like to call you).  You do something every single day that astonishes me.  You also do something every other day that makes me want to scream (like wiggle like a mad man during your diaper changes and inevitably slam your foot into your dirty diaper).  I will take the good with the messy poop foot as long as it always means I get to be your Mama.


I can’t believe that Calvin is one! In preparation for his party I was going through all of our photos and couldn’t believe a).  how many unprinted photos of him I have (bad Mom) and b). how amazingly fast this little baby has changed and grown up. I often find myself thinking about the future and how much fun it will be when Cal can do …XYZ.. when he’s walking or when we aren’t tied down to two naps, etc… Looking back at the pictures reminds me to live in the present, enjoying him in the here and now. Each baby stage is so fleeting and I want to do a better job of recognizing the wonderful moments in each day and try not to fast forward to the next milestone.

It seems just like yesterday when Cal first started giggling, taking his first bites of solid food and sitting up on his own. I wished weeks and months away in hopes that he would finally give us all a good stretch of sleep. Cal now sleeps for a good 5-6 hour period of time and only gets up once. He’s babbling up a storm, trekking up the stairs 15 times a day and cruising on the cupboards, furniture, anything that’s his height.

Calvin doesn’t seem to have any interest in taking his own independent first steps. He loves his walker for short periods of time and every once in a while will take a few steps holding our hands but that’s not very often. I’m making a conscious effort not to wish away the crawling or the cruising. One of my favorite parts of the day is when I pick Calvin up from daycare. When I walk in and he spots me from across the room he makes an absolute beeline to me, crawling as fast as those little arms and legs can take him with a huge smile on his face. If someone were to watch the security footage at our daycare they would literally see me running to the door each day because I can’t wait to see that furious little crawl!

I’m so proud of the little boy Calvin has become and can’t even begin to express how much joy he brings to our life each and every day. Calvin, I hope you always know that I could move mountains with the love I have for you!

It’s been a big first year in the life of Calvin James! Here were some of the highlights:

Your Actual Birth Day:


Visiting Al Pal & Grammy in Florida with family at 7 weeks:


Attending your first hockey game at ten weeks-Benilde St. Margaret’s in their run to a State Championship:


Starting daycare at the Jewish Community Center and meeting new friends at 3 months:

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Your first trip to Gull Lake, a very special place I hope you love for life:


Pool time at the Arndt’s in the summer sun:


Your first 4th of July parade:


Your first trip to the Great Minnesota Get-Together:

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Fall walks with Mom & Dad:


Visiting pumpkin patches:


Starting Christmas Eve traditions:


Now for your actual first birthday celebration we hosted a Winter ONEderland themed party.   It was SNOW much fun to celebrate your first year of life with friends and family and you entertained the crowd by tackling of your first cupcake!  Poor Daddy was holed away upstairs due to the stomach flu and missed your party but he did sneak down to watch you eat your first cupcake.

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Here are a few more of the party detail pictures:

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And some friends and family who made your party extra special:

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Last but not least I had the party-goers fill out  “Wishes for Calvin.”  Cousin Riley’s was my favorite, remember how important math facts are Cal!


Thank you to all of those who helped us celebrate Cavin’s first year of life.  “It takes a village” and we all feel your love and support in helping to raise Cal.  We are looking forward to the adventures the second year of Calvin’s life will bring!

This post is pretty overdue-my apologies!  A few weeks ago we were lucky to spend a long Thanksgiving weekend at my parents.  We don’t get out for real vacations often so heading out to Excelsior is like a mini “staycation.”  It’s always pretty relaxing and we certainly appreciate the extra set of hands to help with Calvin.

Calvin and I headed out to my parents on Wednesday morning to help my Mom get ready and get an early start to the vacation.  When looking back through the photos from Thanksgiving I realize I have very little to share other than the photos leading up the big feast!  I must have been focused on the food…..

While my Dad was running errands I asked him to pickup some fingerpaint from Target so Cal and I could make turkey handprints.  Along with the fingerpaint came toys….lots of them.  Calvin has it good as the first Grandchild!  I’m hoping to convince my Dad to re-wrap these gifts as Christmas presents.


Partially completed turkey hands.

Partially completed turkey hands.


The weather on Thursday morning was delightful and we took full advantage of it!  Cal took walks with the pups:


The boys played football:


Nick learned how to prepare a turkey:


and we even managed to get some nice family photos:


Unfortunately I have no pictures of Calvin stuffing his face with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, red cabbage, pumpkin muffins, etc…. but that’s just what he did!  The day was very low-key and was filled with family, food, games and laughs.  We are so grateful for all of our blessings this year.  My Mama heart just bursts when I think of how lucky I am to have a healthy happy boy and such a supportive and loving husband among many other gifts.

One more thing before I checkout here…

Mom- I don’t know how many photos of the table settings you have asked me to take over the years.  Many, many requests and many, many photos that take up space on my hard drive.  So here it is- a photo of the table-soon to be deleted from my hard drive now that it’s been presented on a public forum.



What does 10 month old Calvin love to do most these days?  MAKE MESSES!

Messes with food:

Messes with clothes:

Messes with books:

And when we’ve messed up every room in the house we head outside to enjoy this unseasonably warm weather we are lucky to have these days:

And even amongst the messes he gives us moments that make our hearts melt!

The cooler temperatures over the last few weeks have made us start to think about what our winter will consist of with a curious little boy who is always on the go!  Cal is a classic boy and always likes to be in motion.  I miss the days when I could cuddle with him on my chest.  A cuddle is vary rare around these parts and I have been known to literally shout “CHERISH THE MOMENT”….when I see Cal going in for a snuggle on his Dad and before we know it, it’s gone but so sweet while it lasted.

Each day brings with it new exploration opportunities for Cal.  Opening drawers, slamming doors, climbing up tables, standing up on chairs are all exciting adventures in the world of Cal.  There is only so much baby-proofed exploring we can allow in our little house.  Our “go-to” this summer and fall has been to take curious Cal to the out of doors where he is mesmerized by all things in nature.   Our walks have always proved to have a calming effect on Cal and if left to his own devices I’m certain he would always choose to be outside.  While we are able to continue our daily walks they have shortened a bit and we are playing less and less outside.  While we are going to try to make it outside on many days this winter (bundled up of course), we know we are going to need to find some activities to allow our little man to burn off his abundance of energy!

Nick and I had heard about the Tumble Room at The JCC through our membership.  I wasn’t really sure what the Tumble Room consisted of or if it would be age appropriate.  For the hour we were there, we had the place to ourselves and Cal had a heck of a time crawling over the obstacles, playing hide and seek with Mom and Dad and talking his first assisted steps walking!  Other than the small remnant of brown squishy substance we found on the floor near the mats, we give the Tumble Room a thumbs up!

Dad takes a spill.

Sunday was a relaxing day with friends and family though it started pretty early.  Cal wasn’t interested in enjoying the extra hour of sleep daylight savings brought which meant we were up at 5:40 a.m.  Cal loves his lazy weekend breakfasts and was super excited to try a little of Mom’s green smoothie- which he loved-of course- because it’s edible.

More please!

I headed out to meet the MN gals (sans Moraghan) for brunch.  I love getting together with these ladies.  It’s so much fun to get caught up on all of our lives and LAUGH.  Shannon just got an amazing job at General Mills, Katy just returned home from Bora Bora after her fabulous wedding, Becca is seeing a new man and has an outstanding career, and I, well, I’ve been crafting during Cal’s naps….  Not the most thrilling update but I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I love being a Mama more than ANYTHING in the whole wide world and I feel fortunate to have family and friends who are so supportive.

We ended Sunday night with my family coming over for a quick impromptu dinner.  After four out of five of us tried to get him down for bedtime it was obvious that he wasn’t having it.  The look on his face after he had been “sprung” was priceless.

Somebody just wanted to be part of all the action.

All and all, another great weekend!  We are looking forward to our winter adventures that get us out of the house as you continue to MOVE Calvin!

Now that Cal is eating more finger foods, I was looking for a healthy recipe that would be easy for him to eat and I could make a big batch of and freeze for his school lunches.  I had just perfected baby purees but he’s clearly moved on to bigger and better things.    I was recently inspired by one of my favorite baby food websites, Weelicious- www.weelicious.com to make these easy and healthy veggie nuggets for Cal last weekend.


2 potatoes- peeled and cubed

1 cup of broccoli

2 carrots- diced

1/2 cup of corn- (I just used defrosted frozen corn)

garlic powder

onion powder

pinch of pepper

2 eggs

1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

1/2 cup whole wheat flour


Steam potatoes and carrots for 20 minutes.  At the 15 minute mark add the broccoli.  Once your veggies are steamed seperate the potatoes from the rest of the veggies.  Place the poatoes in a medium bowl and place your defrosted corn, broccoli and carrots in the food processor.  Pulse until ingredients are finely diced.

Once veggies are finely diced mash your potatoes by hand.  You do not want to add the potatoes to the food processor because they will turn to a glue-like consistency.

Mash potatoes by hand.

Incorporate the veggies and the potatoes and add garlic and onion powders and pepper.  Fresh garlic and onion would be good too.

Once all your veggies are mixed, lay the veggie spread over a cookie sheet as evenly as possible- about 1/2 inch thick.  Since I used cookie cutters to form the nuggets it helped to pop the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Now for the fun part!  In three seperate bowls distribute 2 eggs, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs.

Cut out or form your nugget in any shape you choose.  It’s not necessary to use a cookie cutter but I think they are cute!  Dip nugget in the eggs followed by the flour mix and top with breadcrumbs.  This dish makes so many nuggets so I eneded up freezing most of this batch.  When I was ready to use I took out a a few nuggets and broiled them for about 5-7 minutes.

Healthy veggie nuggets!

100 % Calvin approved!

It’s Sunday night already?!?!  Shoot.  I’m always a little sad on Sunday night as I think about how much fun we had as a family over the weekend.  The weekdays bring so much hustle and bustle and it’s always a little daunting to think about on Sunday night.  Lately I feel as if Calvin is dropped off at daycare and when I go to pick him up he has mastered something new.  His confidence is growing as he pulls himself up to stand on anything and everything- coffee tables, bookcases, my legs, the bathtub, the chairs.  Cal is close to the REAL crawl though the army crawl is suiting him just fine for now.  He is catching on to the games we play and imitating us from time to time.  Cal is babbling non-stop and I have loved the addition of “MAMA” into his vocabulary after hearing “DADA” for the last two months!  When daycare showed me a picture of Calvin eating at the big boy table it really hit me how fast he is growing up.  Each day I am amazed at what a smart, happy, engaged boy is growing right before my eyes.  The weekends give me more time to watch him grow and change but most of all to snuggle him, hold him, kiss him and breathe in that sweet little scent of his.  More time to LOVE HIM.

Before I lose myself in tears…again…. I will share some of our fun weekend activities with you.

Friday Night:

We got home from work, made Cal dinner, read some books got him in his ‘jams (as we like to say) and Nick and I headed out on the town for a date night.  It’s always hard to leave Cal but I knew he was in good hands with Meecie and Papa J.

Playing after work and daycare. Glad it’s the weekend!

Nick and I enjoyed two delicious and totally unhealthy burgers with tots and drenched our thirst with few flights of beer at The Bulldog in NE Minneapolis.  Considering the smiling face below woke us up at 5:20 a.m. that morning we were pretty impressed we made it out until 10:00 p.m.  We know we are so lame……..

So happy to be up with you so early Mom!


We were so excited on Saturday to welcome Nick’s Dad back to MN and to our house for the weekend.  Dan recently started a new job in Duluth, MN which means he’s only 2 1/2 hours away!  We look forward to many weekend visits from Dan and hope to go visit him in Duluth and check out the big ships on Lake Superior (among other things).

Cal had so much fun helping Grandpa Dan work on a little carpentry project at the house.  While we certainly appreciated the effort Grandpa Dan put forth it turned out that neither Cal nor Grandpa Dan really know that much about carpentry.

Are you sure that’s right Grandpa Dan?

It was important for us to be together this weekend as we remembered the anniversary of the passing of Nick’s Mom, Patti.  In honor of Patti we wanted to make one of her favorite meals, Pasties.  Pasties originated in Cornwall, England and are prevalent in mining towns over here in the good ‘ol US of A as well.  Pasties are a hearty fall/winter meal utilizing the most delicious root vegetables.  Best of all they are super easy to make!  Here is a rough recipe, be forewarned,  I rarely measure:

In a medium bowl, mix the following ingredients:

1 lb. beef stew meat

2 carrots

1/2 rutabaga

1 turnip

1 parsnip

1 small onion

1 potato

1 tablespoon of fresh parsley

1 tsp. thyme (fresh or dried)

1 tsp. ground mustard

1 tablespoon water

salt and pepper to season

Make sure all the veggies/potatoes and the meat are in about 1/4 inch cubes so they cook quickly and all the way through.

I cheated and used Pilsbury’s premade double pie crust which made this recipe super easy.  Let the pie crust sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes and unroll onto a clean, flat surface.  Place about 1 1/2- 2 cups of the filling onto half the pie crust.  In order to seal the pasty, I brush an egg wash over 1/2 the crust.

Fold over the top half of the pie crust and pinch the edges to make a nice little pocket for the pasties.  I cut a few slots into the top of the crust and coat with the egg wash for that golden brown effect.

Base at 350 degrees for an hour or a little less and enjoy!

Mmmm…delicious after a hard day of mining or playing with a baby.

While the pasties were cooking Nick, Cal and I ran up to our “local pumpkin patch” aka the Cub Foods parking lot.  We got out to the apple orchard this year but didn’t make it back for the pumpkins….maybe next year.  Parking lot pumpkin patch or not, we had a good time and I got a few fun pictures of the boys:

On our way to pick out our pumpkins!

Papa J, in case you were wondering, Nick was RIGHT THERE in case Cal lost his balance!

Cal among the mums.

Too many things for Cal to look at. Good smile from Dad though!


We started off Sunday morning with, well what else, more food.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the final product but I was too busy savoring every last bite of the amazing french toast we had for Sunday breakfast.  Challah bread was soaked overnight  in melted vanilla ice cream, oranze zest, orange juice, vanilla, triple sec (just a little) and eggs.  A-mazing.

Served this with simple berries with some fresh mint and we were set!  Nick, Cal and I were able to head outside and enjoy the GORGEOUS fall day taking a big walk.  Probably didn’t come close to burning this off.

Rounding out our weekend full of family and food was a celebration of my Grandfather’s 81st Birthday!  We headed to Buca and believe it or not somehow found room for more food.

Celebrating with Al-Pal.

Cal Pal & Al Pal- 80 years apart!  Happy Birthday Al Pal, we love you so much!

Cheers to our family for a great weekend!  Here’s to the next one!