Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where does the time go?

So today is the last day of July. That doesn't seem right, because I swear just yesterday we were getting ready to go camping for Memorial weekend. I've always heard that time goes faster the older you get, and it must be true. But to me, the time isn't just flying. It's going Mach 500.

It's just not fair that Mikayla is now 7 months old. It's not fair that Lilly is almost 3. And it's not fair that my "baby," my oldest little girl, is soon going to be starting First Grade. Where does the time go? Why does it seem like one 1/2 second blink really covers about 3-4 days? It's just not fair.

But like I always tell my girls, especially Alayna, life isn't fair. There is no master sheet out there, keeping track of what everyone does or doesn't get, or get to do, or get to see. If there was, I'd rally for slower time and more time to just enjoy my girls and my family. They are all at such wonderful stages of life and we're always on our toes. I'm sad to think that in what seems like a few days' time, they'll all be gone, living in their own homes and raising their own children. Okay, so maybe it won't go that quickly, but it seems like it will. And then what will I do with myself?

I've decided that while I can't stop time, or even slow it down, I can enjoy it. So I'm making a promise to myself and my family that I will take more time to just be and enjoy. And take lots of pictures. Then I can look back at the pictures and remember the smiles and the laughter and the joy. I'll be able to do that, too, because I'll have taken the time to cherish it all while it was happening. Because before I know it, if I don't take the time now, it'll be too late. And I don't want that to happen.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Blue Ribbon Af-FAIR

This past weekend was the county fair. It's always a lot of fun, a lot of work, and a lot of late nights-thanks to my husband's obsession with watching the truck AND tractor pulls. This year, he participated in the truck pull with his 78 Ford. He didn't win, but he didn't do poorly, either. He was the middle of the pack, which was a little annoying since they ran the carbs with the EFIs. Sure, I understand completely....

This year Alayna is officially in 4H. She is a Cloverbud, which is like being a "trial" member. She attends the meetings and can bring exhibits to the fair, but she doesn't get judged, just talked to by the judges and told how to improve, what she did right, etc. It's more for the experience right now. She brought her rock collection, some soap she made, and a couple of magnets she made at a 4H meeting. Here she is with her stuff, directly over her left shoulder.

She also brought her beloved calf Twister, who's been staying with us at home for a few months now. We were very anxious about how well he'd lead, but he was soooo wonderful! He followed her around like a little puppy. We were very proud of him. We were also VERY proud of Alayna, as she kept her cool every time she was leading him, even when it was time to load up yesterday and Twister got a little excited. He started to run and shy sideways, but she kept hold of the rope, talked calmly to him and kept him under control. She's just growing up too quickly.

We spent the entire weekend at the fairgrounds, and each night was a late one. Here are some pics that I took yesterday afternoon while we were waiting for 4:30, the time we could take exhibits home for good. I think this just proves how tiring the weekend can be.

Congrats, Alayna, on your first fair as an official 4H member! You did so well and we are very proud of you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bad Hair Day

Lilly was having so much fun playing in the backyard the other day. She kept going through the tunnels of the play set over and over and over. When you continually crawl through plastic encased tunnels, you can only imagine what happens to fine, silky child hair.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Summer Fun

During the summer, we spend a LOT of time at the ballpark. Andy plays softball on a weekly league with some friends, every Wednesday night from Memorial to Labor Day. We also have church league, which is weekly on either Thursday or Friday nights. Throw in the occasional tournament, and it all adds up. But we enjoy it and it's part of summer, a part that I've always been familiar with. As a matter of fact, I grew up going to games all the time, watching my dad play, just like my girls do now. Actually, my dad still plays, and he's old. (gotta get the jibes in at any chance, LOL) In the pic above, that's Andy up to bat and my dad coaching First.

During the games, we have some great opportunities. For one, since the Wed. night league is all friends, us wives get to catch up while the husbands play. The kids all get to play together, too, and they look forward to each game. It also just lets us out of the house and our own yard. Sure, we have to bring almost the entire house with us to each game, but that's okay, too. Sometimes, I can even get caught up on some reading (like I did this weekend during the co-ed tournament...It was HP, come on!)

So to our family, summer means softball. It's just one of those things like humidity and heat and bugs...once softball starts you know it's summer. I hope that my girls look back on all these games and summers as a good memory, because as of right now, they sure seem to enjoy it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mixed Up

The other day I had some odd spurt of energy and decided to organize and rearrange Lilly and Mikayla's room. There room wasn't dirty or messy, just a bit unorganized. After all, when a 2yo and a 6mo share a room, they have not only dressers, but totes of clothes that are too big or too small. So, I went to work and got the closet done. That just wasn't enough, so I moved Lilly's bed, then both dressers, then the book shelf. When I was done, I was impressed with myself. I had gotten a lot accomplished unintentionally, and the room looked bigger the new way. Lilly loved it. Mikayla could care less.

When we saw my mom last night at a softball game, Lilly told her about it...

L: Bamma, Mommy mixed up my room.

G: She did? What did she do?

L: She moved my bed and my dresser and Mikayla's dresser and my bookshelf and my toys...

G: She moved your bed? Where is it?

L: At my house.
Here is a pic of their room, for the most part. And yes, that's camoflauge crib sheets. I promised Andy that no matter if Mikayla was a boy or girl, we could finally get the camo crib set.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our Newest Family Members

We have three new members of our family. It took a long time in coming, be we now have 3 beautiful pigs to call our own.

It was a fun project that the girls had a blast with. We've only had these darn pigs for a few months now, ever since going to a party at Jill's house. I thought they were perfect because they came as a set of 3 and, well, we have 3 girls. A piggy bank for each! So, we have spent the last 2 days and nights working on our pigs. I did Mikayla's and then Lilly's with her help, and Alayna did hers by herself. It was a lot of fun, even if we did have to do some, wait a few hours, do some more, wait, etc. I think the end product was well worth it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fun at the Children's Museum

We went to the Children's Museum this weekend. It was a lot of fun and the best part-every third Sunday is FREE! So, we were able to save the free passes we had for another day and time. Here are some pics of our day...

These three were taken in the Earth exhibit, which is a big room that's made to be like the outdoors

Here are the girls grocery shopping in the Real World exhibit

Lilly was singing onstage and her image was projected onto the tv like she was on Starsearch or something

Mikayla had fun watching the girls play all day. She really liked the rooftop gallery and play area

Playing Catch

This is a definite case in point for this blog-I almost forgot to write down a cute story about Lilly. So, even though it's a few days old, here goes...

There was a church softball game on Thursday night and we were there to cheer on Daddy, Grampa and the rest of the team. About halfway through the game, Lilly decided that she wanted to play catch. So, she grabbed the 2 child-sized gloves that a friend had brought and walked over to Pastor.

"Wanna pay catch wif me, Pasto?" she asked, holding out the glove.

Of course, he couldn't turn her down, so Pastor put the glove on his fingertips and knelt down to be closer to Lilly's height. Lilly, in turn, knelt down like Pastor. They proceeded to play catch for the next 2 innings.

It was awful cute and I was pretty sad that I didn't have my camera with. It would have made a great photo for the monthly church newsletter, not to mention a fabulous addition to this particular blog post. But, I remembered to post it here, thus getting it down in the family history books, so to speak. I knew this would come in handy some day!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ahhh, a nice dinner conversation

We were eating lunch on Friday afternoon and this was the conversation between Alayna and Lilly, completely disregarding and ignoring me. I sat there, thinking that I must secretly have little boys and that this conversation couldn't really be going on in real life...

L: I just farted.

A: I didn't hear you.

L: I farted.

A: If it doesn't make noise, then it's a toot. If it makes noise, then it's a fart. That's what my friends from school said.

A few moments pass, in which we hear a rumbling noise coming from Lilly's chair.

L: Now I farted.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Green-Eyed Monster strikes

The Green-Eyed Monster has struck our house. Yep, jealousy. You may think that it's something that Lilly wants to do but isn't old enough, or Alayna wants something her friends have. Nope, it's Mikayla.

She has always been a pretty equal opportunity child. She loves Mommy and she loves Daddy. She doesn't seem to favor one of us over the other. But, when Daddy comes home from work, he'd better say hello to her right away. If she hears his voice and doesn't see him, she'll cry until he comes to talk to her. No kidding.

So yesterday we were laying outside on a blanket and Alayna and Lilly were playing on the swingset. Andy came home and laid down next to us, talking to Mikayla. Alayna came to give him a hug and laid her head on his chest, hugging him. Mikayla started to cry and get upset, so Alayna lifted her head to tell her it was okay. Mikayla instantly stopped crying. Alayna laid her head back down on Daddy, and Mikayla cried again. Andy and I exchanged a curious look, and I told Alayna to pick up her head again but not say anything to Mikayla. Sure enough, Mikayla stopped crying. We tried it again 2 more times, and each time she cried when Alayna snuggled with Daddy and stopped when she sat up. Alayna went to play again, so I put Mikayla on Andy's chest and she just snuggled right up and quickly fell asleep. Apparently, no one else is allowed to snuggle with Daddy if Mikayla is tired.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I can hardly stand it!

So this morning I finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in anticipation for the next book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. I honestly can barely stand waiting another nine days for the new book to come out. Now that everything from book 6 is fresh in my mind again, I'm just swimming with ideas and predictions and hopes for the next, and last, book of the series. My friends Melissa and Lesley and I have been talking possible plots lines for a few weeks now, each of us eagerly awaiting midnight on Saturday, July 21. I know where I'll be at that time--in line at Wal-Mart with a bunch of other HP fans. Is Snape good or bad? Will Hogwarts be open? Will Hermione and Ron be together, what about Harry and Ginny? Is Bill a true werewolf? Who is R.A.B.? The questions are too many to list.

One thing may give me a short respite from the anticipation, and that's seeing the next film, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." I've told Andy that I need to see it in the theater, as I've never seen one of the HP films at the theater. He agreed, but we'll see if he actually comes with me. He likes the movies well enough, but he's not a fanatic like I am.

Alayna is even starting to see the pull and asked me to start reading the first book with her. We may do that, reading a chapter or so a day, once I'm done with the last book. Then I can give the first few books the complete attention they deserve.

Regardless, the time is ticking away. Don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for a day or two following July 21. I'll be deeply engrossed in the book, seeing if good really does prevail over evil. T-minus 9 days and counting...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy Birthday to Daddy!

Today is Andy's birthday. For those of you keeping track, that means that my birthday is before his. Yup, I'm a cradle-robber. I take every opportunity to remind him that I'm older than he is, even if only by 18 days.

Those 18 days don't usually mean much of anything at all, but it did on 2 different occasions. The first was when we turned 16. I was able to get an apt. for my driver's license the day after my birthday and I got it on my first try. So that meant that I had my license and drove Andy's butt around for about 3 weeks. It almost killed him. I haven't driven us around since. The second time was when we were planning our wedding. I jokingly lobbied for a wedding between my birthday and his, our 21st. But what did it matter? See, in WI you can drink while underage if you are married to someone who's over 21. I told him that he'd be able to drink because I'd be his legal guardian. He didn't quite agree and we settled on Sept.

Now today we've had two Lilly-isms, as we'll call them, when it came to Daddy. First, she watched me shave Andy's head last night. This morning, she was playing with my hair and she goes, "Mommy, did you shave off Daddy's head last night?" When I told her that I had shaved his hair off, she goes, "Hmmm, I fink I like it like that. What a good girl, Mommy!" Then this afternoon when Daddy got home, he jokingly told her that he thought the card she colored for him was horrible. Lilly's response? "Thanks, Daddy!"

Well, I'm off to finish up our b-day supper for Andy. I made my "world famous" (as Alayna calls them) homemade chicken pot-pies and cheesecake. Yummy.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Camping Fun

Every year on Memorial, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends we go camping. This year was no different, however with the Fourth falling on a Wednesday, we opted for the weekend after for our trip. Maybe trip is the wrong word. See, we go camping only about 20 minutes from our house. Not very far, I know, but it seems like forever away. There are no phones, cell phone service is spotty at best, we're out in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere-a good 15 miles from the nearest town-it's great.

The land is owned by Andy's cousin Bob and his wife, Shannon. Together with their 4 kids, they come up quite often for fun times at the cabin. We join them on the holiday weekends, and some smattering of weekends throughout the rest of the year, too. Our kids get along great, we get along great, our friends that join us all get along great. It's just a lot of fun. Of course, it's also a lot of late nights, early mornings, headaches for whatever reason (ahem) and bug bites, too.

This year was quite the experience, having a 6mo along for the ride. But Mikayla is a happy, easy going baby. She was quite content to just sit in her swing and watch everyone go by on the lawn-mowers (the kids ride them for fun during the day-with no mower decks, of course-us adults ride them at night) or look at the birds fly by or dogs chase the ball. The only times that she got a little irate were her own fault. She would be laying down for bed or a nap, and roll onto her belly and be up against the side of the pack-n-play. That wasn't fun-for her or Mommy. It was quite the scream that would issue across the campsite while she fought the demons that were holding her on her belly. But all in all, she was a very good baby. She was also Mosquito meat. She's got a couple of pretty good welts on her head that we were unable to prevent in time. But it's all good, as she can't scratch them.

Lilly, on the other hand, can scratch them. She's been telling me ever since we got home that she's "itchy" and will scratch at the hundreds of bites all over her. Apparently she tasted so good that the mosquitos didn't mind the appetizer of Off Skintastic. I try to tell her not to scratch the bites or they'll get worse, they'll hurt more, her legs will fall off...I've tried just about everything. The only thing that works is putting a band-aid over them. But who really has $500 to invest in band-aids at the time? Not us! Besides that, Lilly had a blast. She has such fun trying to keep up with the big kids and she loves to play on the "tire fwing." She also loves eating outside for every meal, even breakfast! Imagine that.

Alayna was the little mother hen, like usual. She was very aware of Mikayla's cries and pleas for attention, was constantly asking if anyone needed more sunscreen, and spent a lot of time on her bike, playing that she was the mom going to work. She was never very happy at bedtime, but it consoled her to know that everyone else was going to bed, too. That also meant Lilly, which usually made for an interesting half hour of us yelling at them to stop playing, lay down and go to sleep. I'm so glad that they don't share a room here at home.

The only downside to the weekend is that the weather was close to unbearable. I'm talking in the 90s with high humidity. It was not too comfortable. Sunday was the worst, but thankfully that day was only spent partially camping. Not so thankfully was the fact that Sunday was also the day for packing up, which meant more ambition that many of us had.

And here's the last tidbit of info. I'm a prat (like my new word, HP readers?) and didn't take any pics. Can you believe it? I usually take pics of everything, but it's just too hard while camping. I don't want to leave the camera in the sun or places where it could get hurt, or run over, or any of the other odd things that tend to happen while we're camping. So instead of a picture, I'll leave you with a mental image. Imagine us all hot, sweaty, red-faced and dirty...There you go, that's our picture from 4th of July camping this year.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pics from our Fourth

The girls at the 4th of July Parade in town. They were awful cute, waving their flags and decked out in their red, white & blue... We went to Auntie Amanda's house to swim, have a BBQ and watch the fireworks, which are set off only a few docks down from where she lives (with some set off a barge in the middle of the lake).

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

Today is July 4th. This day is a day that all Americans should cherish. Because of this day, and the millions of soldiers that work daily toward it's cause, we have the freedom we all love so much. We can say what we want, do what we want (w/in reasonable limits, of course) study what we want--pretty much do as our hearts desire. And that's all because of our founding fathers and their desire for a country full of freedom and pride, and the soldiers that protect those freedoms.

My friend Lesley wrote about supporting the troops and she said it so well that I'll repeat her sentiments. Even if you don't support the cause, support the troops. The men and women who have fought, or do fight, for our country signed on to do so for the main cause-keeping America and it's citizens safe. Regardless of your stand on the situations going on, please support the troops.

Becca M, Reed L, Sean D, Wade H, Chandra C, Walter D, Matt D, Allie S, and any and every other soldier that I am missing--Thank you for protecting our country, our rights, and our lives.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Almost the 4th of July...

Well, here it is. It's almost the 4th of July. I personally love the 4th, all the fireworks and great, peppy, patriotic music, and all that those things represent-the sacrifices made for our freedom. The heat and humidity that's usually associated with July in WI, I can do without.

Alayna asked me yesterday what all the 4th of July meant. She knew it was Independence Day, but she didn't really know what that meant. So I took the opportunity to tell her about our nation's independence from Great Britain, the flag, and the United States in general. Now, if you know Alayna (or have read my family rundown on a previous post) you know she has a genuine thirst for knowledge. This immediately started the long list of questions and answers. She knew each star stood for a state and that each stripe stood for the original "states" or colonies. But she wanted to know more. So, we started with the states. I wrote them all down in alphabetical order, had her read through the list, then try to find them on her interactive Leap Pad map. But that wasn't enough for her. So, I taught her the song I learned in about 3rd grade, singing the states in alphabetical order. Who would have thought that these umpteen years later, I still refer to that song often and it's gotten me an answer on Jeopardy or Millionaire faster than the real contestants? She loved the song, but still wanted more. So, I found an interactive map on the web where she could just put the mouse over a state, and information on that state would show up. She worked on there for awhile, and then the younger kids woke up. Time to get off the computer.

This morning, Alayna woke up eager to learn more. I told her that we could work on it some more when the littler kids were down for their naps. Well, at lunchtime, Alayna was being a bit testy and didn't want to eat, was wanting to sing to the other kids, etc. I was, by proxy, also getting testy. Most 6yo can be threatened by no toys, no going outside to play after rest time, etc. Alayna? My big threat of the day? "If you don't sit down right now and eat nice and quiet, we won't work on the states again today." Let me tell you, I could have put her plate back in the cupboard, that's how clean she got it.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Mmmmmmm, Sweet Potatoes

Tonight I tried Mikayla on sweet potatoes for the first time. As you can tell, she was a little shocked by all the flavor at first. But she quickly got over it and was very eager to eat some more. As a matter of fact, I had to purposely get her face a bit messy in order to get the "classic" first food shot. She wasn't about to let any of it dribble out of her mouth.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Childhood memories

Two of my on-line friends are the ones that really inspired me to start a blog. I was reading their blogs (after hearing them talk about them for some time) and one friend mentioned her childhood memories and how vivid they can be, down to the smell or feel of something. My other friend then commented on the same topic line, and I thought I would, too. We all had the same general consensus-we each hoped that our children had good childhood memories that were vivid enough to last into adulthood.

I have so many that are just little wisps of a memory, nothing specific-a smell that is hard to explain, but makes me think of Gramma C and eating at her house (kind of a melted butter/meaty/spicy smell-told you it's hard to explain). Whenever I smell peonies, I think of my Gramma L.

Others are very specific to a certain event or time-Whenever I hear the song "Radar Love" I see my sister and I driving along in her little blue Sundance on a hot summer day, singing at the tops of our lungs. I hear a June bug and I break out in a cold sweat thanks to a summer vacation some twenty-odd years ago and the wood door in our basement being left open a crack. Let's just say that I lay in bed and listened to the buzz and crunch that filled the house while my Dad killed hundreds of those blasted bugs in our basement. I think of "the West" and I flash back to a tiny little roadside diner that my mom, my sister and I ate at while on a Girls Trip to N/S Dakota, Montana and Wyoming when I was maybe 12. I have no idea where the diner was (Wyoming, I think) but I remember it was red and there were the typical "local-yokels" who all turned when us strangers walked in.

I hope that my girls can develop those type of memories (well, except for the one w/ the June bugs) and remember them always. Maybe they will have a smell that reminds them of my mom, or a song that reminds them of their sisterhood. Maybe there will be that one picture that everyone thinks of (like the pic of my dad wearing an Alabama shirt, permed hair and bushy mustache-it was the 80s after all) when they think of so-and-so. I just hope and pray that they have wonderful memories of their younger years, that last them their entire lives. If they do, that means that Andy and I have done our jobs-we've helped our children to have happy childhoods that they can remember with a smile, or a smell, or a song.