Monday, July 27, 2009

Canal Park

On Friday morning, we went to Canal Park with some friends.

We were lucky enough to see a ship go through the canal, which is fun on many levels. There was waving, there was awe over the bridge itself (the Aerial Lift Bridge can raise to its full ship height of 138 feet in less than a minute), and there was astonishment over the length of the ship.

Afterward, we spent some time on the beach, throwing rocks in and testing the icy water.

Isn't this a fun photo of Keenan? Maybe he's doing yoga. Maybe he's winding up to throw a rock far into the lake.

These two are so funny. Our friends are 2, 3 and 4, and these big kids had better things to do than hang out with the wee ones. They shared secrets in hushed voices, waded into the water and generally kept their distance from us.

Dana found a ladybug on her knee and transferred it to a stick. She thought it was really neat and wanted to take it home for a pet.

We eventually made it to the fountain and spent half an hour walking on the path and playing in the shooting streams.

This was the first time we visited Canal Park this year. Is that sad or what?! (And on a side note, I sure wish my keyboard had an interrobang.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We Want Dog

Today we had a real houseful. Keenan spent the night last night and was here through dinner tonight. This morning, Kevin picked Diogi up from my brother and sister in-law's house.

That Diogi: he is something else. He is SO not the media's version of a pit bull. He is gentle, sweet, and, well, a scardy cat.

Diogi is absolutely terrified of thunderstorms. If you live here, you will recall that it has been storming today. When Kevin picked Diogi up, he was cowering under Sam and Liz's kitchen table. He had to pull him out and coerce him into the car. He had to physically move him from the car into our yard. Diogi went upstairs to our bedroom, crawled under the desk and shook like a leaf while we tried to calm him down. I finally went next door to get his special medicine.

That's right: Diogi has a prescription of Valium to take during thunderstorms. In fact, the message on the prescription bottle says: "Give Diogi Dog two tablets daily as needed for thunderstorms." Hehehe.

Once his doggie medicine kicked in, he made himself quite comfy on our bed. Which I didn't make today because I was trying to find 5 minutes to change the sheets. Pretty, huh.

After dinner, Dana wanted to take a tub, and Diogi followed her into the bathroom to keep watch from the bathmat. Clearly she loved this idea. Her nickname is the Dog Whisperer because she chases down every single dog at every single opportunity (playground, friends' houses, road) and asks for a pat.

We hope to get a dog someday soon. In the meantine, Ogi is welcome any time.

On another note, my good friend Charity's husband, also named Sam, is going to be on Extreme Home Makeover! The company he works for, Builders Commonwealth, was contacted by ABC to see if they would be the contractors for an episode being filmed locally. Sam will be in charge of materials, and will have about 4 people under him. It's going to be a crazy time! They work 24 hours a day for a full week! They'll knock on the family's door on August 3 and reveal the finished home on August 10. Charity said there is a semi trailer that ABC converted to apartments, and the contractors will sleep there when they need to. Like they won't be going home that week. Check out their website here. Not much up yet because the family is secret until August 3, so check back soon. The episode will air in October or November.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lounging in the Pool

My parents are always busy with a new project in their yard. If you've been to their house, you know that their yard is their number one hobby.

Right now, they are working on making concrete pathways in various locations, such as to the sleeping gazebo and to the swimming pool. The girls think they look like fairy paths, so that is what they are called now.

I know what you were thinking when you first read about concrete pathways. But look! They are so cute! They are using a form of some sort, and it makes sort of a cobblestone pattern. My mom is in charge of coloring them. She is using milk paint. I am not sure if she is sprinkling powder on top and blending, or if she is actually mixing it into paint and pouring it over the top. I guess that will be her secret. At any rate, this path goes from the gazebo to the pool, and the children are much appreciative. This path used to be a combination of sharpish rocks and wood chips. It wasn't great for walking barefoot, which is usually how they walk to the pool.

We found these inflatable tubes at Menards the other day. They are quite fun, and take up less space than the inflatable mats they initially wanted. Nora enjoys learning new tricks with the tubes, such as diving into the middle, or flipping it over and swimming back up through the middle.

Dana likes to warm herself in the sun. This is the life!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's in the bag?

Must be something good in that bag!

This girl can really coordinate her colors!


On Saturday night, my sister and her husband were gracious enough to host a campout in their backyard. For the kids, you see.

Luckily, they have a ginormous tent. I know you can't really tell, but this beast has three rooms! Which is good, because it was home to seven grade schoolers for the night. Yes, seven.

No campout would be complete without some marshmallow toasting! There was some fun discussion about how people like their marshmallows done: flambe, golden brown or pale.

I tried to get a shot of all seven sticks in the fire, but I was too slow.

Nora is almost caught up on her sleep again, after falling asleep after midnight and waking up at 7am. I asked her what she liked best about the campout, and her answer surprised me: holding the baby. She spent half an hour holding the neighbors' 7 week old son and she would now like a brother of her own. Thanks, neighbors! She's more likely to get a pony!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bubble Foam

I really love Family Fun magazine. I have been a subscriber for the past few years and have tried many, many projects and ideas.

The latest issue arrived in my mailbox on Saturday and we didn't waste any time testing out a new way to blow bubbles.

Basically, you take a plastic beverage bottle, one that has ridges, and cut off the very bottom with a sharp knife. Make sure there are plenty of ridges left on the bottle.

Next, cut a piece of old terry towel a few inches bigger than the bottle bottom. Attach it to the bottle bottom with a rubber band. The ridges will prevent the rubber band from popping off. Trust me-I learned the hard way. Which wasn't actually that hard-just wasteful of two ridgeless bottles. That were in the recycling bin anyway.

Dampen the towel, dip the thing into some dishsoap and blow through the bottle top. As you can see, fun foamy bubbles come out in a long snake.

Dana thought it was fun to catch pieces of the foamy snake and blow them off of her hand.

This kept the girls busy for about half an hour, and I am sure if it hadn't been so windy, it would have stayed fun for even longer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Butterflies and Popsicles

We haven't been up to anything specific lately. Nora and Keenan were in a summer clay class, we've been in the pool a lot, we sleep in most mornings. So here are a few photos from our random days.

Kevin got this nice shot of the fireworks.

Both girls love butterflies, but Dana spends hours chasing them around with her net. Here, she smiles at one she actually managed to catch.

Nora must see this for herself. As soon as Dana shows us a catch, she releases her new butterfly friend. She knows butterflies must be free.

I thought her clothing selections were pretty cute, so I asked her to look at me so I could take her photo. This was her response. I think those great big eyes are saying something like, "Gimme a break! I'm just trying to eat my popsicle!"

In other news, we have bears. Yes, plural. One evening last week, Kevin walked next door. As he approached my parents' house, a gigantic bear emerged from their driveway. Luckily, he had better things to do than pay any attention to Kevin. He just crossed the road and walked into the neighbors' yard. A couple of nights ago, we were sitting on the couch and we heard our garbage can tip over. We turned on the outdoor lights and saw a small bear walking into the woods with a bag of garbage in his paws. Luckily, I have been composting a lot, and there wasn't much of interest in our trash. And now we keep our garbage can in the garage like normal people. And, of course, I couldn't find the camera in time to get documentation of the garbage thief. Maybe next time.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Little Decoupage

All week, the weather was cool and rainy. So I decided to have a craft project party. I figured we needed some organized fun inside. Except that the sun came out.

Not that I am complaining! We just hauled the supplies out to my green table in the yard. I didn't think to grab my camera until the big kids were done and had moved on to the swingset, but I did manage to capture Tara, Charity, Josie and Dana.

Here are our candle holders. Aren't the pretty? We used Mod Podge and tissue paper to decorate glass jars from the recycling bin, and then we tossed some tea lights into them. The kids enjoyed this, but so did the moms.

Nora covered her jar in pink and blue hearts. Dana preferred to rip chunks of tissue paper to her liking, primarily in purple. She did allow some hearts on hers, too, and then added some green for good measure.

I have a whole lot of Mod Podge left, and I am thinking of more fun ways to use it. It's cool stuff!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Indoor Summer Fun

This is quite the summer we are having! Last week it was in the 90s pretty much every day. This week, it has been cold and wet. They predicted a high of 46 today. On July 1. I know. Don't get me started! Needless to say, we have been playing inside a lot.

Here, Super Girl Nora has set up a surprise wedding for Princess Dana. I love the details, from a stuffed animal audience, to the pink furry stole around her neck, to wildflowers grabbed from the woods.

Here, the girls took four chairs from the dining room table and turned them into a cozy bed. Nora is on the right, but only her hair is visible.

I took the cold weather as a sign to bake. I made carrot cake cookies, which sounded awesome, look tasty, but were unimpressive. They are kind of flavorless. Even with cream cheese frosting sandwiched between two cookie layers, they are disappointing. I guess I will have to try something else today! Darn!