Sunday, August 26, 2012

Another year older. . .

. . . another year wiser?

I hope so!

The kids and Andy treated me like a queen for the day.   All day, Curtis kept shouting, "A ha day-day Mommy!  (Happy Birthday Mommy!)  And I loved hearing all of their sweet voices sing to me.  So cute. 

We enjoyed a day of family fun and put up a tire swing in our yard. (See photos below).

Andy treated us all to Bobby's Burger Palace and we left incredibly stuffed, but of course saved room for cake. 

After the kids were in bed, we opened a bottle of wine and watched 'The Vow' - chosen by Andy!

Earlier in the day, this was the scene outside:  transforming an old tire into a new swing.

It took Andy a few tries to get the rope over the tall limb, but once he did the kids were ready to help him pull it down the other end. 

After a little refresher on You Tube on knot-tying, the swing was up and ready!

The kids are loving it!  I took tons of photos of them playing, but I ended up deleting so many since they were blurry from them swinging so fast.

The next day, we made some cloud dough:  8 parts flour + 1 part oil.

I started this activity indoors, but quickly realized that outside was the place to be with this flour-y mess.

The dough took the shape of any container it was pressed into, but then crumbled in your hands when squeezed.  The boys liked that part.

I'm always pleased to find any of my kids like this.

Only one full week of summer left.  Crazy!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Soaking up the summer

We only have about two weeks left of summer vacation, but we are determined to make the most of it.  One day, we decided to take a little nature walk.  The kids were equipped with little "treasure bags" that they could fill up along the way.  

Bella even came prepared with her magnifying glass.

Curtis greatly appreciated the "helicopters".  He filled his bag with a lot of them.

Then we came back for popsicles under our makeshift backyard tent.

Bella made a "fire" out of some rocks and buckets.  And then they "roasted s'mores".  Graydon stayed in the tent.  I don't think he was feeling too well this day.   

We never fear around here because our house is home to TWO superheroes! 

They take their job very seriously. 

Yes, we are very safe.

Here's some cell phone pics from our past week:

Day trip to the shore.

Bella won the jackpot at a birthday party:  220 tickets!  The excited look on her face as those tickets started pouring out of the machine was priceless!

Family outing to the Camden Riversharks (our local minor league team) game. 

Bella got her school papers on Saturday and found out her who first grade teacher will be.  Can't believe it's back-to-school time!  But we still have two weeks of summer fun to squeeze in, and I'm grateful for that!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

To Wisconsin and Back. . . Again

The kids and I enjoyed another two weeks in Wisconsin! I have to admit, I was a horrible picture-taker this time around. I don't even think I took my camera out of the bag that whole first week. But, I do have a lot of memories that I will happily share with you. . .

  • finding a hotel in Ohio that was walking distance to a Subway restaurant - exactly what I was hoping for
  • tears falling from everyone while we said goodbye to Daddy for two whole weeks
  • relaxing with the kids in the hotel room
  • Scott's Stout Toffee ice cream topping
  • driving around in my Dad's Cadillac with the three kids nestled in close behind me.  (Bella is still in a booster - which you can't see).
  • my kids and Ava running around, playing, and acting silly in the basement of Jodi and Aaron's new house
  • celebrating Kristen's 27th birthday at Ashling on the Lough.  Yum!
  • playing hide-and-seek with the kiddos while Jodi packed up her apartment
  • Graydon and Ava thinking that I couldn't see them because they covered their faces with their arms!
  • spending a few days in Verona with Gaga and Papa (unfortunately I completely forget to even bring my camera with).  
  • two evening swims in Tom & Debbie's pool
  • Gaga getting in the pool!
  • hot-buttered popcorn
  • ice cream at "The Chocolate Chopper"
  • allergy meds to provide some relief to all my sneezing!
  • seeing "The Little Mermaid" play with Bella, Jodi, Ava, Kelly, & Tracy
  • Grandpa Mike taking the kids to the park several times
  • sitting outside in the backyard, talking with the family
  • shopping with my mom and Bella
  • the kids getting their feet wet in Lake Michigan.  I finally get out my camera!

  • Curtis warming up to the animals

  • a buster bar from Dairy Queen
  • Ava being OK after a scary fall at the pool and quick trip to the ER
  • swimming at the RecPlex (the pool where Kristen works).  It's like an indoor waterpark!  
  • a little shopping spree with Mary and Scott and then dinner together - my early birthday gift.  LOVED it!!!
  • grandparents to watch little kids
  • helping Jodi and Aaron move into their new home
  • hanging out at Jodi and Aaron's new home

  • dinner at Mary's house!
  • Curtis warming up to everyone

  • lunch with Jodi and the kids at Olive Garden
  • Graydon and Curtis's running game with Grandma

  • a picnic at Lake Michigan with my parents and the kids

  • my parent's couch - Graydon's favorite nap spot

  • Bella wearing cat ears and making a cat tail out of paper and crayons. . . and then pretending to be a cat while playing with Bob (the cat)
  • Curtis snuggling with Grandpa so that I could get some packing done

Graydon saw me take a picture of Curtis and asked if I could take a picture of him watching TV.  So I did.  He looked at it and said, "Let's do another one."

So I did.  After this one, he was satisfied. 

And then when Curtis left my Dad's lap, Graydon made a dash for it.

The next morning, my mom, the kids, and myself got in the car and made that familiar trip back east.  We met up with Andy at that same hotel in Ohio and rested for the night.  My mom and I enjoyed some breakfast while the kids continued to rest the next morning.  After saying goodbye to my mom, the rest of us stuck around the hotel just a bit longer to take a little swim - a must for any hotel we stay at these days.

While we were packing up our van to head out, I was playing with the kids in the grass.  They were pretending to run an Olympic race.  When they reached their destination (a lamp pole), Bella yelled, "Bees!"  She ran back.  Graydon ran back.  But Curtis either didn't hear or didn't understand.  He ran right into the bees and got stung three times on his face, two times on his finger, and five times in the inner part of his upper arm (we didn't discover the arm stings until a couple of days later).   That's 10 stings for our little guy!  He was very upset and so were we.  We headed back into the hotel, got some ice, and gave him some acetaminophen.  Our plan was to take him to an urgent care, but he actually seemed OK after about 15 minutes.  No "red flags" to look for.  And he only swelled up very slightly.  We are so very, very thankful that this turned out as well as it did and that he didn't have an allergic reaction.  Thank God!

Since being home, we've done a lot of laying low.

Josh Feyen - part of our Madison, Wisconsin family - has been in Philly this week, so we had him over for dinner.  He gave us lots of gardening tips and has a super helpful blog that is going to be a great resource for us!  It was great to have you over Josh!!!

The kids painted some rocks the other day.  

And now that our travels are behind us, we are officially taking away Curtis's paci.  He went to sleep without it just fine last night.  He asked for it this morning, and we had a little talk about pacis being for babies and how he is a big boy now.  After our talk, he kept saying "baby paci".  Then he went and found one of Bella's babies that has its own paci and he gave it to her.  And he was happy.  Such a sweet boy.

If you look toward the lower area of his mouth, you can see three little dots.  Those are the bee stings on his face.  He also has mosquito bites on his forehead from the other night.  Kid can't catch a break!