Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Milestones....

We finished up our two week daily morning trek to the pool on Friday.  Swimming lessons are wrapped up for another season.  Sis was super excited to go down the big slides and was anxiously deciding if she should jump off the diving board or not.  Sure, she wanted to, but sometimes fear can get the best of her.
All the kids paraded over to the diving board and lined up.  Some kids with no fear, ready to cannon ball, some a little apprehensive, some excited.  None of them knowing how their parents hearts would swell on the sidelines with pride and a bit of sadness as our babies are growing up, changing into little people who take risks, feel pride in themselves for moving past the fear.
Here she goes....
SPLASH!
She was bursting with pride, ready to get in line to go again.
I was choking back tears.  These little accomplishments aren't little at all to an almost seven year old.  Heck, I'm going to be 41 in a few weeks and I get it!  I know what this feels like!  It's amazing.  It's what strengthens you, it's that little kernel deep inside yourself that carries you through the low points in life.  

It's what I hope to fill her soul up with as a parent.  To be the best YOU can be and not to follow the silly crowd when it doesn't feel right.  Which is exactly what I told her to regarding her decision to jump or not.  To do what she felt was right for HERSELF.  I'm tossing the rope out a little further each time.  It feels good.  It feels like milestones in the making.
Second jump is a beauty.....
Waiting and watching....
Maybe next year Evan will decide to move past whatever was bugging him....
He made no sense to me at all.  He's been to water parks and gone down huge slides, he's jumped off the side of the pool with a life jacket on, he'll go under the water, blow bubbles, doesn't care if his face gets wet.  He loves the pool and the beach.  Yet he wouldn't go in shallow water and get a little instruction.  He went in one day and after all the tears, screaming and battling of wills, I gave up.  I just didn't have the fight in me for two long weeks.  So the last few days we didn't even pretend he was going in the pool and he just wore clothes!  

I have a sense this is just the beginning of what I am up against as a parent.  This was some sort of teaching tool in the classroom of life that I will draw upon when I parent teens.  Lord help me!
That's sis shooting out from the big slide!
She can dive down to pick up rings, she can tread water in the deep end, she has more confidence.  And following my two rules of what makes you successful in life: being a good reader and having self-confidence...I'd say she's well on her way!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Finger (body) paints....

 I'm sexy and I know it!!!!
We stopped at a garage sale this morning and I bought a pack of Crayola (the good folks at Crayola make everything washable!) Finger Paints.  I had the notion that the kids could go outside and paint their bodies, wash off with the hose and return to the house.  Yes indeed, for $1.00 I got a good 30 minutes or more of a phone conversation with a bestie.  Sissy painted Buddy's butt, er, body.  Look at his pose!  Hilarious!
Two painted Kiddos.
And the aftermath....
Lucky for me a nice rainstorm just blew through.
Zero cleanup on my part.
Thank you $1.00 garage sale find!
Smart Mom's pass on the tricks of the trade!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weekend in Review....

Little Love Dog Evan fell asleep on me on Friday night.  I loved it.
You never think it will happen, but Lauren is a long tall Sally, all arms and legs, and when she crawls up in my lap to cuddle it's much more complicated than a 3 1/2 year old climbing in.  I will never tire of smelling his head and touching his perfect skin.  

Folks, it's been one of those weekends leading into the week.  I'm kind of in a funk that I'm working to shake right out of me!  So let me share some photos of the weekend and get on with it!  I seriously have so much to be thankful for and joyous about, but it happens to the best of us.  As my Mom always says, "this too shall pass."  (and the stinkin' heat with subside and my blessed fall with enter in and the kids will go back to school)
I attempted to use my new William Sonoma pancake molds for breakfast fun on Saturday morning.  I think I did something wrong.  I had to ditch these pancakes.  But I will try again.  They are too cute and for .50 cents brand new at a garage sale I had to try!  There is also a planet that comes with the set too.  
Lovely fiesta ware and coffee outside...
Nothing better.
Family hair salon on the deck!
My sister-in-law has neighbors with the coolest tree house.  The kids were giddy to check it out.  Those are Adirondack chairs on the balcony.  My kids would be so kicked out of here and I'd be hiding away in this lovely reading and listening to music and drinking wine or coffee.
Tree houses are fantasies of childhood you never outgrow.
The kids begged to "go on a garbage hunt" and hubs and I let them go way down the street from our house.  We sat on the deck drinking coffee and talked about the good citizens we are raising.  (and the fact that nobody else would let their kids walk down the grass a few yards from the house.)
I didn't want to, I really didn't want to, but I made homemade popsicles with the kids on Sunday.  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do a project.  I found these molds in a random corner of the cupboard and the kids got all excited.  
The recipe was very simple:  make some simple syrup, add some lemon rind, let cool and then mix in Greek yogurt (unsweetened, plain variety) and berries.  (Let the simple syrup cool before adding to the yogurt and berries)
I really just wanted somebody else to paint my toenails and do the whole pedicure thing on my feet but I did it myself.  Sometimes the act of getting in the car and driving to the pedicure place and sitting there for over an hour just seems more exhausting than doing it myself!
I sat in the driveway while the kids rode bikes and scooters.  Evan had an "incident" and I yelled "Call 9-1-1!!!!"  The neighbor friend and Lauren carried him up to me.  
And we ended our weekend with a fish bone sky.

Monday, July 23, 2012

And June is gone, just like that....

Somehow it is pit-near the end of July.  For Pete's sake it was just early June and I was sitting in a bar with by best gal pals in Grand Marais, MN at the Gunflint Tavern on vacation.  (Please note Kelly's extra super cute SAK purse in the above photo!  I want it.)  And I actually asked for a beer chaser.  Silly me.  These people know what they are doing!  They are like the good folks I love in Wisconsin!  
We all ordered a bloody.  It looked delicious.  It tasted delicious.
We won't discuss the shrimp and what it did to all three of us.
Always question the shrimp.
First appie of the day:  bread, baked brie, apples, candied pecans and some berry compote delight.  And I finally got the t-shirt I've been wanting for years. I heart t-shirts from bars.  Heck, from anywhere!  Thank you sweet baby Jesus for this little sliver of no-kid time on vacation!
The Lake.  Trout Lake.
Hubs took some kids out in a canoe.
He took them far away from the dock.  The mom's just weren't sure how we felt about this.  He convinced us it was fine.
Look at that sky reflected in the water.  Perfection.
These peeps are my heart!
Comin' into the dock!  All mom's can breathe again!
Such a fine crew.
Cleo, Morgan and Charlet...
Party on the dock!
Get your sunbathe on!
Some young punks, I mean hunks....
Colton, TJ and Andy
Standard issue photo of my feet and I added some thigh for ya all!
Just chillin'!
Why yes my friend I would indeed like to bring my chair into the water and drink with you!
What are these pirates you speak of?
Crab legs on our final night of vacation!  Hello!  I never met a vat of melted butter I didn't like!
The long, long, long drive home where we stop in Eau Claire at our favorite "big chair" gas station.
Yep, that's Pooh Bear.
Oh June.  You were here and then you were gone.  
I miss you already.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer in Door County....

A few weeks ago we headed out to my beloved Door County, WI.  I've been going to DC since I was a child.  Camping, biking, shopping, swimming....So many memories.  Lucky for me I never stopped going to DC after I moved away from home after college.  I kept going because it always calls me back.  I wanted my children to have a little slice of all that I loved.  It was the week of July 4th and this was a last minute trip, so we were surprised we could even find a spot to accommodate 4 adults and 2 children.  But where there is a will there is a way!  

We ended up in a not-so-fancy or charming "guest cottage" at Apple Creek Resort.  It completely served our needs and I was very happy to be in DC.  We don't need fancy or charming all the time.  I'm pretty good at manufacturing that on demand if needed!  A couple of candles and a "bedroom in the closet" for the kids and we were all set!  
The way I see it, a pool is all you need to make children happy.  That's how I was as a child.  My Aunt Sandy (my mom's sister) who we call Tanta Sandy (Tanta means Aunt in German) came with us on our long weekend and would so graciously and lovingly take the kids the pool merely seconds after they got out of bed!  The pool opened at 8:30 am and you could find them there!

I do enjoy a good pool.  I love a beach too.  I love the sand, the wind, the boats, the seagulls, the walks on the beach to search for beach glass and shells and stones.  But there is something about a pool that makes kids really really happy.  
Dad arrived and the kids were even happier!
I never met a child that didn't want to be in the hot tub!
There is the foot shot!  It's cocktail hour by the pool, I have Words with Friends on my phone and we are in DC!  I'm ready to go to my favorite shops, restaurants and just soak in the glory of all the memories that rise to the surface when I am in this space.
Fabulous Tanta Sandy and Grandma Terry watched the kids almost every night.  We would get them fed and ready for bed and head out for late night dinners, drinks and spooking around.
Hubs made me stop to take this photo as he said it was the "money shot."  I'm not sure I saw the same vision, but I took the photos!
A nice drive through the back roads with the sun setting with farm land all around us.
We just kept driving and saying "We could eat there."  "We could eat here."  But we just kept driving.
We ended up in Jacksonport for Mexican.  Why, I'm not sure.
Then we walked down to the beach.
If you look real hard and tilt your screen just the right way, you can see our shadows.
Good Morning!  Coffee on the deck!
We love White Dunes State Park.  Best beach around.  I love how the above shot makes it seem like hubs has a beer in his hand but it's really a person in the water!
Another must stop is the Yum Yum Tree in Baileys Harbor for ice cream and treats.
Sissy has been saving her money for a long time and so kindly offered to buy some treats to share with her brother.
There was a small break in the heat so we were able to be outside the pool area on the deck.
Lauren & Tanta Sandy....
We spent a glorious evening at Fred & Fuzzy's in Sister Bay.
I'm not sure why I've never been here in all my travels to DC, but I'll be going again for the view and the Door County cherry juice margarita.  
It's just bar food, but worth the trip.
I told Hubs that DC is the Hampton's of Wisconsin hands down.
We walked around after our drink and appetizer.
I mean really, pretend you are anywhere in the world on any amazing beach.
It feels that good to me.
Self-portrait....grainy and dark......I love it.
You can find me lounging on that chair with my morning coffee.
Fred & Fuzzy's is connected to The Little Sister Resort so we walked around and checked it out.  I landed upon this amazing photo op. Vintage bikes!  
We then took a drive to The Wagon Trail Resort where hubs is obsessed with getting a cardamom coffee cake.  Every single stinkin' time I've been in DC with the hubs we have to visit this place.  We took Lauren here on a trip when she was two.  To me it was sad, depressing and needed a major face lift.  Well, much to my surprise it indeed has gotten one!  It is now called Rowley's Bay Resort  and has a little bar completely decked in vintage glory.  There was even live music AND we got the Swedish delight coffee cake!  I need to go back and check out all the work they have done, but it was a major improvement overall!

I took Mom and Sandy back to Fred & Fuzzy's for a cherry margarita and to see the amazing view.
Sandy I and stumbled upon a little art gallery that was holding an open house.  We checked out all the art, I talked to many of the artists and outside you could find this couple playing music.  It was perfection. 

This trip I didn't take photos of all the usual places we go to shop or eat.  Hubs took the kids to Washington Island on a bike riding day trip.  There is too much goodness to photograph.  Most of it has already been etched on my heart.  I can never get enough of DC.  If I have anything to say about my children will be taking their children here and reminiscing about, "remember when....."