Fishin Time

It's that time of year again! Vacation time...okay fishin time. We're leaving for our annual trip to Hessel, Michigan. Every year over the 4th of July week we head north to a little cabin (and by little, I mean the size of my kitchen little) for some much needed fishing time (that's for the hubs of course). For some of you who know me well, you've heard many a time how much I adore our little cabin (insert sarcasm). For the 9 years I've been going, it has never been one of my favorite vacationing stops, afterall who wants to pack winter clothes for their summer vacation! And every year I vow to have an open mind, but I always come home in a grumpy mood.

But it's not about me. My husband has been going to this place since he was in his mother's womb. It is perhaps one of his favorite places to visit. He feels connected there. You can almost measure his smile getting bigger and bigger as we count down the hours till we go. It's a place where he can feel most connected to God, spend time with his family, visit old friends he grew up knowing, experiencing the high of luring in a big one. He loves it. And the fact is, my kids are becoming more and more fond of it too.

So this year, not only am I going to try keep an open mind, but I am going to dwell on the fact that my family loves this place and that part of my joy comes from watching them enjoy their vacation. And there are some positives too that I could focus on. Afterall, there is the little town's fireworks (which are really quite good), the beautiful view of the sunrise, great meals every night by the beach side, fresh lake breeze in our cabin, card playing time with good friends, the sound of the waves quietly slapping the dock, long walks near the marina, and of course GREAT ice cream cones! See you in a week!

Recital Day!!

Well, the day had finally arrived when all of Kyra's hard work was to come to fruition. She had her recital on Saturday, and my parents even came from Chicago to watch her perform. I was actually surprised to see what a big deal it was. We had a five paged note of strict instructions to follow. There was to be no video taping, no parents in the dressing room, makeup to be worn be all dancers (Kyra put stress on that rule), and button down daddy shirts to be worn over custumes in case any dancers had to eat. HAD to eat? Let's see, from the time we left (3:45 pm) to the time we finished (8:30 pm), that was close to 5 HOURS! Of course a 3 year old would have to eat. I might have not been so worried about my poor little girl starving if it hadn't been for the rehearsal, where they lost her new cute little totebag and she didn't eat anything the whole entire time. She was famished and bored (they had activities for the kids, but weren't showing any of the kiddlings how to do the activities). Needless to say quite a few parents were upset at how things were handled (of course it was only the parents of the preschoolers, so you can tell who the newbies were). But we survived (really it was only the rehearsal that went poorly), and ended up having a super time.

Our little dancer did a wonderful job in her Counting Song too. She was a true performer! For the most part she followed the routine and didn't get too sidetracked or have stagefright. I was definitely a very proud mama. And those little ones were so cute to watch. They didn't know exactly know when to leave the stage, so they stood there taking in the applause (or more likely confused and looking like a deer in the headlights). They were definitely cute.

I did get a new perspective on dance too. I have always appreciated dancing. I love to watch people using their bodies to interpret songs. I love the rhythm of tap shoes, the beauty of ballet, and the emotion with lyrical. I have even enjoyed some hip hop routines that get my blood pumpin. But suddenly, as I watched some of the teen performances, I began to visualize my daughter up there in 10 years or so. I wasn't so pleased. You see, a lot of the dances they had involved boo*ties shaking, hands sliding down the chest, and quite frankly many suggestive songs. Although most of the young girls had very innocent dances, and although I might have had fun dancing some of the hip hop dances, I began wondering if this was really the road I wanted my daughter to take. Some of these girls had quite the attitude as they entered the stage, which I'm sure was very much a part of the dance, but I'm sure it's also something they begin to acquire in every day life too. The attitude, flaunting, and vanity is definitely not a image I want my daughter to seek. So why would I push her in that path (a path I realize she could choose on her own, but I'm not going to help her)?

Okay, enough of the darkness. I realize God has blessed us with bodies to use, but they are bodies to be used with grace and dignity. So, while I would love to have Kyra continue to dance, I think we will be having to look for a new company (perhaps the ballet company or the park district). It was a great year, and Kyra certainly enjoyed herself. And perhaps if anything, this experience has opened my eyes. For now, I am thankful that she is still focused on the pretty little tutu and her pink ballet slippers!
Our Dancer all ready to go!
Kyra's number "The Counting Song". The picture was a little blury because they wouldn't let us use flash. Notice how in sync they are with each other!
The Finale! Yeah! What a trooper.

Of course a recital wouldn't be complete with out ice cream for the Grande Finale!

Feeling Domestic

So, I must be feeling a little domesic these days because today I did a craft of sorts and yesterday was strawberrry jam. And typically that just isn't me. Anyhow, back when I was getting the material for the window valance that I made, I came across a free pattern for a purse. And seeing as how I have been looking for a diaper bag/purse for some time (I still carry this monster diaper bag for a 2 1/2 year old...I think the time has come for something a bit smaller), I grabbed the pattern with the idea that someday I might have the inspiration to try it. We have been to a number of craft shows with the cutest purses, but they cost an arm and a leg. I figured, surely I could make something just as cute for half the cost!

The other day we were at Hobby Lobby, a favorite store of mine, when I noticed they had great looking fabrics. I decided, why not, let's get some fabric and I'll try making that bag. Of course, I didn't want to try making it for the first time and possibly not like my own product so I decided I better make a tester bag. And who better to test the product on but, my daughter. Kyra has been needing a bag to put her coloring book and crayons in for church anyway. And she was delighted to pick out her own fabric.

The project looked simple enough, but then again don't projects usually seem easier then they really are? After all you put two squares together and sew, right? Well maybe for sewing comes easy for some, but other than making my curtains, I haven't sewn in years (like since home ec), and even those weren't simple. Plus the pattern I had was from someone who hand wrote pictures and directions, and I'm thinking she left out a few steps. Anyhow, I ended up sewing the wrong pieces together and then had to rip the tiny stitch apart from hand (with out a seam ripper). So, this 2 hour project ended up really taking more like 8 hours.

Of course, now it's done and I am pleased with the results. Of course I missed the opportunity to put some cute ribbon across the middle of the bag, but all in all I thought it turned out well. And I had a very happy customer as well. I am really glad I did a sample bag first however, because that should make the next time a little easier. Plus, if I do it again I will probably make the bag a different size, add some pockets, and different embellishments. Look out Coach, here I come!

Strawberry Patch

Lately I've been thinking about having the kids try their hand at picking some berries at the local strawberry patch. We've done the apple picking in the fall to make pies, cobblers, and applesauce but never strawberries. We did try growing our own strawberries, but I think our patch is still a little young because we only yielded oh...about 4 strawberries (unless you count the 10 green strawberries that Katie ate..yuck)! Anyhow, for the past few years we have either had homemade jam made from my in-laws or made from myself from store bought berries, and we are plum out. And I'm sorry, after you have had homemade strawberry jam it is hard to go back to store bought.

So grandpa called last night and said the farm still had enough berries for today, but only until 10 am (apparently it was a popular attraction this year with the lovely weather and all). He wanted to meet at 7:45 a.m. at the local gas station to caravan over. Needless to say, I was a little leary that I could get everyone moving by 7:30, but I thought I'd give it a go (especially since it is hard enough to get the kids out the door by 9 a.m. for church on Sunday, with an extra helping hand)! But we did it. Katie wasn't too happy with me, but she perked up once she saw grandpa.

Actually, I was surprised at how much fun we had. In the past when I tried picking strawberries in my in-laws garden, the mosquito's have been almost more than I could bare. This was so pleasant! No bugs, no blistering sun, it was just beautiful. The girls tried their best at picking, but in the end they picked about 10 each and then headed to the car to have grandma read them a book. Maybe it was a little early for them yet.

The real fun came when we came home to fix up all the berries. Kyra was having a blast cutting her share of the berries, trying her best to mash them, and helping to measure the sugar. We had our first experience trying to measure correctly with the measuring cup. "It's not at the 4 cup mark yet Mom." I was surprised at how much fun I had with her helping, because unfortunately I am usually a control freak when it comes to the kitchen (I have to do things my own way - maybe a little bit of my Dad in me? Nah, couldn't be). After two batches of jam, we still have berries left over, so already the hubs is thinking strawberry shortcake, and I'm thinking strawberry pie. We might just even try freezing whole berries to make smoothies for a later date. Mmmm...summer produce is finally here.

Happy Father's Day

The day wouldn't be complete with out a child or two getting sick, would it? I'm beginning to think that Katie's internal sick clock flows with the holiday calendar. Thanksgiving, Christmas, her own birthday, Mother's Day, and yes now Father's Day, the child got sick and then kindly gave it to her sister.

It actually started Friday night. We had the whole family over and then out of now where, Katie began crying hysterically. I thought she bit her cheek or something, so we kept telling her to calm down and take a drink. Except the crying wouldn't stop. Ten minutes later, I finally set her in her room so she would calm down and not disturb everyone. When that didn't help, Grandpa jumped up and held her on the couch for a bit. She didn't move for an hour. I finally went to pick her up so Grandpa could go home, and she screamed hysterically again. She didn't want me to hold her, just her Grandpa (of course he ate that up, and decided to stay another 1/2 hour). Finally, I took her again only to realize she felt hot and had 102 degree fever. The lights finally came on!!

The next day, we had told Kyra we would go see fireworks at the local town's fair and maybe even go on some rides. Katie was feeling better and I thought we just might be up to par by evening time. Wrong. Katie may have been feeling better, but then just as rapidly as she got sick, Kyra did too. I have never seen such an instant fever. It was like one minute they were running around and the next they were crying. Kyra screamed when I tried taking her temperature. Of course, sure enough...she had a 102 degree fever. We had to break it to the kids that there would be no fair (although Kyra was feeling so crumby that she didn't care). We did make it to the fireworks (just watched them in the car), but Kyra barely picked up her head (sad to watch, because fireworks are one of her favorite things). So, we packed things up and headed home to put the chillins in bed. The hubs just about turned off Kyra's bedroom light when she threw up all over him. This of course just shortly before Father's Day. He certainly seems to be the target when it comes to the girls tossing their cookies. Poor guy.

Fortunately the story has a happy ending. On Father's Day, we stayed home from church and had our own church service. It was simply great. The girls were both feeling better, so we sat on our comfy couch in our comfy clothes and had our praise time. The hubs prayed, I read a children's devotion, and we all took turns requesting songs. It truly was a wonderful morning of praise. And I think the girls enjoyed being part of the service, although Kyra did mention that we were lacking the after the service cookies (leave it to her to think of the important parts!). Then the girls gave their daddy each a gift, and card they made. I think he was glowing. You can tell he really loves those girls.

So here's to my hubs!!


Thank you for being a great father. Thank you for taking the girls on tractor, 4 wheeler, and bobcat rides. Thank you for being a great provider. Thank you for instilling in them a love for the great outdoors (they sure wouldn't get that from me!). Thank you for having the patience to garden with them. Thank you for all the pancake breakfasts you've made. Thank you for smiling at all their tired jokes. Thank you for playing with them when you are tired. Thank you for even being the target when they feel sick and not complaining about it. You do a lot for these girls and I don't always acknowledge or recognize all you do. But I know you love them dearly and can see it in your eyes. I love you and the father that you are.

Love, the Mother of your children

Our New Park

A couple weeks ago, we were sitting down for our usual Saturday morning breakfast (pancakes and sausage made by my hubs), when I asked him what he had planned for the day. Not many summer weekends go by where he doesn't have something planned so I needed his itinerary. Surprisingly he said nothing, and suggested maybe we go to Me*nards to buy 2x4's for a sand pit. I thought it was a great idea. I was thrilled that he suggested it, because lately the girls had been getting pretty bored after say about 15 minutes on their bikes. And although we have many great parks within the vicinity, something else to play in at home would be great. I really wanted a swing set, but we kind of overdid it when we bought all of our living room furniture a couple months back. So off to the store we went!

Of course when we got there, they were having a 12 months interest free sale (they always get ya don't they). So we decided to "just look" at the swing set material. The hubs decided we could probably afford to make a simple A frame swing set. We had some old boards he could use up and would probably just need a couple swings. Of course then I said, well they really use a slide more than a swing, so maybe we should do that instead. One thing led to another and before you know it, we had material for a whole swing set!! I thought at that point we should just buy a kit, thinking that might save time, but the hubs was determined to engineer it all on his own. He already had an idea in his head. There was no stoppin him now! I decided to stay out of his way and let him build, because after all I was getting my swing set.

Needless to say, our simple sand box project had turned into something bigger. But my wonderful man plugged away at it, and finished that baby in 4 days! He even said next year he might add a roof and a few other things. But for now, it suits our needs and the kids LOVE it. I'm sure we'll have some good times this summer having picnics on the deck, races down the slide, and lots of laughs.

This is all it was supposed to be!

The hubs hard at work (and still smiling!)

Who needs a swingset? We should have just invested in a slide and put it on a hill! They seriously had loads of fun, just sliding down the slide on the ground for like an hour.

The final product! Our park (as Kyra calls it)

New Face

Introducing the newest member of our family (the hub's brother's baby)....

Miss Ava Mae
9 lbs. 11 oz.
20 in.

She's only a day old, and already she'll give the Michelin Man a run for his money!! She's got the cutest chunky cheeks, and thunder thighs to boot (although I should talk, Kyra was 10 lbs 2 oz!) Boy, does she seem to have the sweetest disposition though. Her mom couldn't be prouder and certainly glad to be done with the very difficult pregnancy.

We were so excited to see this new member of the family. The girls could hardly stand waiting all day to go see the new baby at the hospital. And while Katie may need a few lessons on how to be gentle with a baby, she was already smitten with her new cousin. Kyra needed her turn to hold little Ava too, and loved to touch her soft skin. Yes, you are a beautiful little girl Ava. We're so glad you've finally joined our family!

As Time Flies

Today was Kyra's last dance class. She has a rehearsal and dance recital, but it was her last day going to class. As so many people are experiencing these days with little ones growing up quickly and the end of a school year coming to a close, I had mixed feelings. I rejoiced at the thought of not having to rush through Tuesday night's dinner just so we can make it clear across town. But I also stood there baffled, thinking where has this year gone? I remember like yesterday, just blogging about how she was going to be the next child prodigy (which now after watching her, is doubtful, but hope springs eternal!). It also pained me to see her tear up as I told her it was her last day at class. But along with endings are new beginnings, and Kyra is beginning so many wonderful things.

In the past two weeks, Kyra has learned to write the entire alphabet (when for months all she could write was her name). She successfully learned how to throw a Frisbee (which I still can't do), and she learned how to cut food with a knife (a child's knife, but she actually forks her food, and saws her food back and forth with her knife in her right hand). Maybe that seems like small potatoes to some, but pretty big mile stones in my book. This child is definitely growing up. And I know time we have with her is only going to seem to go faster. So if I can just remember these cherished moments, then when times are tough, maybe I can think to myself...don't get all worked up now, because soon enough you won't be able to get these times back.
(Love how the second line goes backwards!)

(This is a picture she drew of our family. The object above Dad is an airplane! She had me draw the clouds though.)

Friday Foto

In the past month or so, Kyra learned how to say "I love you" in sign language. Of course wanting to be like her big sister, Katie follows her around trying her best to make the same sign and saying:

I Mwumyou

Stanley's Back!

Okay, I'll be the first to tell you that I am not a big sports fan. I don't play any sports (unless you consider walking on a bike path a sport), and I don't really like watching sports. About the most I watch is the annual Superbowl, where really I do more eating and talking then I do watching the actual game. It's sad I know, because I could probably benefit a lot from actually playing a sport, but the interest is simply not there.
So, a couple of nights ago when I turned on the boo*b tube and found a hockey game on, I was just about to turn it right back off when the hubs said, "STOP!" "What do you mean, stop? It's just a hockey game." "It's not just any game, it's the series. And Detroit is up 3 to 1. If they win tonight, they win the championship!" he said. I gave him a look that said, you think I give a rip, and began to head out of the room. "Just stay for a minute and watch with me," he beckoned. And because I am always at my husband's beckoned call, I stayed (okay maybe he didn't beckon).

Needless to say, it was exciting! I couldn't believe the energy these guys had. I was hooked. My hubby gave me a few pointers and explained some of the rules, and soon I was glued to the TV. The power plays, the body checks, the penalty box...this game was exciting to watch! With in a few minutes I was hollering at the TV like a pro. I even stayed up till 12:30 a.m. to see them go into over time. Of course they lost that game, but they hung in there.

Then last night, they WON! This older team of men has won 4 championship series in the past 11 years. And they were on fire. I wish I could have enough energy in one day as they did in one play. It was really something to watch. So, congrats Red Wings! Maybe, just maybe next year I will actually watch more of your games. Or even go to a local Griffins hockey game!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The kids are chattin it up this week, here are a few things they've said (disclaimer: sorry I have been so heavy on the kiddo talk, but they've just been so darn cute lately):

During role play with a doll:
Kyra: This is Sally. She's just a baby. She can't walk, crawl, or even sit up. I have to hold her and do everything for her. She can't even listen. She won't be able to do that till she's 4!
Mom: What about when she's 3? She can listen then!
Kyra: No, 3 year old's can't listen.
(you can say that again)

While getting ready to head outside:
Kyra: Daddy, there's a spider. Quick get him!
Dad: (he begins taking off his shoe in effort to kill the spider)
Kyra: NOoo, not that way. We use kleenex. That's how we always do it around here.
(evidently Mom's way is the protocol around these parts)

Upon getting Katie up from her nap:
Mom: Hey sweetie pie! Rise and shine.
Katie: No, I punkin.
(such a quick come back for someone who was just asleep)

If you want to read more Tiny Talk, just visit Mary's