Thursday, August 29, 2013

Water balloons

Though summer is winding down, it's not over yet!  We hadn't played with water balloons yet this summer, so it was high time to remedy that.

It seems to take forever to fill these up and almost seconds for all of them to pop!
 photo IMG_2503_zps8dd6103d.jpg

I ended up filling more after our initial bowl.

Graydon was content to throw and pop the balloons.
 photo IMG_2512_zpsc0704102.jpg

Bella wanted to throw the balloons in the air to count how many times she could catch one.
 photo IMG_2505_zpsdf528ef5.jpg

Curtis didn't want to play.  He was afraid of getting wet.  But he was very willing to get his picture taken.  He literally stood in front of the camera and asked me to take his picture.  Very rare.
 photo IMG_2504_zpsb78f33ff.jpg

Bella and Graydon developed a game of catch.
 photo IMG_2507_zpsc4d55cc4.jpg

  photo IMG_2510_zps8d0f2ddc.jpg

And Curtis came back to pose for another picture.
 photo IMG_2508_zps20e3b1b2.jpg

Some pics from the phone. . .

Curtis got a little tangled up while getting dressed. Photo is blurry. He kept running from the camera this time.
 photo IMG_1263_zps174a766d.jpg

Graydon recently started wearing ties to church "because Daddy does." Can't argue with that!
 photo IMG_1264_zps87fe5e12.jpg

Two masked cowboys stormed into the room where I was reading my Bible. Such silly boys!
 photo IMG_1269_zps8e6f77ea.jpg

Monday, August 26, 2013


I woke up on my birthday morning to breakfast in bed prepared by Andy and Bella.  I was sung to and hugged and ushered into a wonderful start to my day.

This has become a birthday tradition: my free Starbucks drink. I never get a venti, but when it's free, why not?!
 photo IMG_1265_zps098c894f.jpg

We picked up some peaches and iced tea from a farm stand, where the kids were also treated to some water ice, and then we went for a little drive. These were new roads, to us.  Country-ish roads with farms on them. And for a moment, I felt like I was in Wisconsin again. Such a treat.

Later in the evening, we gathered around my birthday brownie.
 photo IMG_1251_zpsd3f93089.jpg

I am surrounded by a silly bunch. 
 photo IMG_1266_zps71c2925b.jpg

 photo IMG_1267_zpsb9378a0b.jpg

 photo IMG_1268_zpsa79b1ee6.jpg

Funny story about the brownies.  Andy and the boys set out to make them, only we were out of cooking spray.  The box said to use shortening to grease the pan, which Andy found in our cupboard.  We also didn't have any vegetable oil, so Andy substituted canola oil.  All seemed well until it was time to eat the brownies.

They tasted like play-doh.

At first, Andy thought that the problem was the canola oil substitution.  But then he checked the shortening container.  Let's just say that the expiration on there was quite a while ago.

Mystery solved.

I still love the thought and time that they put into everything.  Made me feel special.  :)

Bella made me two bracelets using the new rainbow loom and rubber bands that she bought with her allowance money. 
 photo IMG_1272_zpsc50ec4b6.jpg

Graydon has been in heaven with a stack of manila paper that Andy brought over from the church.  He put these items in a box and Andy wrapped it all up.  Love his imagination and creativity!
 photo IMG_1273_zpsf811a960.jpg

Curtis chose a few of his toys to wrap up in a box.  They included a whistle, small teddy bear, and plastic car.  So sweet and fun. 

I had my choice of whatever restaurant in town for my birthday dinner, though I was still rather full from lunch.  So we ended up at Panera Bread!  My birthday meal included an Asian salad and soup.  Just perfect! 

Later that night after the kiddos were asleep, Andy and I watched "Oz: The Great and Powerful".  It's a rare event that we rent a "grown-up" movie, so that was a treat.

I love being the birthday girl and am always a little sad to see the day come to an end, but I am thankful for such a nice day with my wonderful husband and kids!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wisconsin: Summer 2013. Part two

The kids and I ventured down to Kenosha a couple of days before Andy did.  He stayed behind to help his parents with a few house projects.

Scott made his delicious homemade pizza for dinner that evening.  Great way to kick off our Kenosha time!

We spent a bit of time at Jodi's house and made some "boo-boo bunnies" with her daycare kids.
 photo IMG_11312_zps4981a340.jpg

And I got to see how big this little lady had grown!
 photo IMG_1130_zpsa6ffe577.jpg

Bath time was an extra treat since Grandpa & Grandma's bathroom was recently redone and updated.
 photo IMG_1132_zps33ad6800.jpg

My mom transformed the first floor of the house into a carnival for the kids!  This was definitely a highlight of the trip for all of them.

Bounce house in the living room!
 photo IMG_2427_zps8f74523e.jpg

Games and prizes!
 photo IMG_2429_zps50dfb254.jpg

 photo IMG_2433_zps83d3aef2.jpg

 photo IMG_2435_zpsa2ae1283.jpg

 photo IMG_2437_zps7a0190f6.jpg

Auntie Kristen moved into her new house.  The kids helped out a little by dusting furniture and scrubbing the floor.  Uncle Scott will be living in the other half of the duplex.  He was busy this week with making repairs before his official move-in. 
 photo IMG_1133_zpse81779f1.jpg

We got all tourist-y and decided to take a tour of the Jelly Belly factory.  Andy and Bella did this years ago, but the boys and I have never been. 

The tour was followed up by some frozen yogurt at Cherry Berry's. 
 photo IMG_1134_zps1099469e.jpg

We moved right along from there to a park down by the lake.  After taking Bella to the bathroom, I just had to take a photo of this beautiful harbor.  So peaceful.
 photo IMG_1135_zps2ffc095c.jpg

That evening provided one of the most anticipated events for my boys:  Monkey Joe's!  We went there for Graydon's birthday and, in the months since, they have continued to talk about it - even pretending to go there in their space ships (cardboard boxes) one day. 
 photo IMG_1138_zps196394c9.jpg

 photo IMG_1136_zps4be3b35d.jpg
 photo IMG_1137_zps841f4d08.jpg

Dinner at Slice!  Only ones missing were the Texas crew and Pat!

The kids and I played at the park one morning.
 photo IMG_1085_zps8af69d2e.jpg

 photo IMG_1086_zpsa9a9c8ec.jpg

 photo IMG_1087_zps2bd3fec4.jpg

 photo IMG_1088_zpsc6984581.jpg

Graydon found new treasures whenever he was outside. His collection included: rocks, twigs, leaves, sticks, and a few "flowers" (weeds) and was quite impressive by the end of the trip.
 photo IMG_1139_zps7a32ef8c.jpg

Sleepover with Ava!
 photo IMG_1140_zps69119870.jpg

 photo IMG_1141_zpse9dbd147.jpg

A relaxing Saturday chatting in the backyard.
 photo IMG_1142_zpsa01314df.jpg

Cousins playing the Barbie game.  Object of the game: be the first to get a boyfriend, get a prom dress, and become a club president.  I believe the version they played was my mom's when she was little.  
 photo IMG_1143_zps3b40bf86.jpg

Roasting marshmallows.
 photo IMG_1147_zps3cdae3a9.jpg

Eating s'mores.
 photo IMG_1148_zps293ee60d.jpg

More snuggle time with Nora.
 photo IMG_1151_zps6635ff36.jpg

Bella drew our family.
 photo IMG_1146_zpsc0058dc8.jpg

An impromptu picnic dinner by the lake.
 photo IMG_1152_zpsf268d5cd.jpg
 photo IMG_1153_zpsaa9dd28b.jpg

 photo IMG_1157_zps360642e6.jpg
 photo IMG_1156_zps75c8813d.jpg

 photo IMG_1158_zps3c92e674.jpg

 photo IMG_1159_zpsc1909fbb.jpg

 photo IMG_1160_zps1670ab4c.jpg

 photo IMG_1155_zpscd06b8be.jpg

We did a tiny bit of school shopping for Bella.  Graydon acted as her stylist.  
 photo IMG_1154_zps919eac29.jpg

A great way for the boys to get around the mall.  This photo was taken after one of Curtis's many meltdowns of the trip.  He was quite the difficult boy - especially in the last half of our Wisconsin time.  Lots of tantrums and fits.  Getting upset over the smallest thing.  He was definitely out of sorts and tried my patience quite a few times.  I'm happy to say that he's been doing better since we've been back. 
 photo IMG_1145_zps866943f5.jpg

This yellow car was the source of the mall meltdown.  "I want the yellow car!  My favorite color is yellow!  Wah!  Wah!  Scream!  Scream!"  Ugh!  
 photo IMG_1144_zps02b86a2b.jpg

Jodi's backyard theater.  White Christmas lights.  Popcorn in cones made of construction paper.  Blankets set up on the grass.  Family members watching 'Rio' together.  A great evening and a fun memory.
 photo IMG_1180_zpsa86d1275.jpg

 photo IMG_1181_zps485279da.jpg

 photo IMG_1183_zps587b43bd.jpg
 Lots of silly times with Uncle Scott.
 photo IMG_1186_zps2b88ebc2.jpg

Our final night consisted of ordering out pizza and was followed by a birthday cake for me!  Such a fun surprise!  I loved having a little birthday celebration with everyone.
 photo IMG_1208_zps66082837.jpg

Time to head back to NJ.
 photo IMG_1192_zps7e3421b4.jpg

Our kids do not generally sleep well in the car.  This probably lasted about 20 minutes.  And then was followed by about 20 minutes of crying.  Curtis NEVER wakes up happy when he's in the car.
 photo IMG_1184_zps6eeea061.jpg

And finally, we were back in NJ.  It's always hard to say goodbye.  The kids are now even sharing in the sadness of leaving.

But we are so thankful for all of our family and the fun memories we made this summer.