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!

I ended up filling more after our initial bowl.

Graydon was content to throw and pop the balloons.

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

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.

Bella and Graydon developed a game of catch.

And Curtis came back to pose for another picture.

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.

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

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

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?!

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.

I am surrounded by a silly bunch. 

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. 

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!

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.

And I got to see how big this little lady had grown!

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

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!

Games and prizes!

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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

The kids and I played at the park one morning.

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.

Sleepover with Ava!

A relaxing Saturday chatting in the backyard.

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.  

Roasting marshmallows.

Eating s'mores.

More snuggle time with Nora.

Bella drew our family.

An impromptu picnic dinner by the lake.

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

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. 

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!  

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.

 Lots of silly times with Uncle Scott.

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.

Time to head back to NJ.

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.

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.