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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Before I go to bed

...I need to get some of the things rattling around in my head OUT. I'm surprised I don't have a headache from all the banging together of thoughts going on in there! It's probably because I'm so tired that the coherent thoughts are cushioned by the mush that is the rest of my brain.

I've been working non stop (hence my lack of blogging). I knew that in order to have everything done that needed to be completed by the end of the month I was going to have to push myself. And push I did!

690 book pages will be published by midnight on Saturday to take advantage of a promotion Blurb is having until the 31st. If I can swing it I want to get an extra 80 page book completed so I can take current pictures of my kids to my high school reunion in a couple of weeks. It has been two years since I made a photobook and I gotta tell ya - it's strange to see my own photos in a book! I am loving the feeling of being caught up though! I will share excerpts as time allows in the next few weeks.

One of the books I'm having printed this week is my FAVORITE blog book I've ever done. I'm going to order a second copy so I can share it with the bloggers who attend my session at the MN Blogger Conference. What am I going to be talking about at the conference? Well you can probably guess, but you'll have to wait for the specifics until I write my presentation summary, a bio, and scrounge up a headshot and get them to Missy by...gulp....tomorrow - uh...I mean later today. It is after midnight again. This is my last late night of the week - no more 3am bedtimes or even 2am bedtimes! I'm shooting a wedding on Saturday so I need to rest up!

We're taking a day trip tomorrow so I'll be able to do some napping in the car - just in case I better get to bed.

I'll leave you with the kids' latest obsession: Caterpillars.

lots and lots of them. Can you see the baby on the underside of the leaf? It's right above the hole and behind it on the other leaf is a bigger Monarch caterpillar. They get twice that big and once that happens we transfer them to our butterfly cage. At this point there are 3 coccoons, 1 in the process of forming its cocoon and 4-5 babies. We used to have eggs on some milkweed leaves but they got gobbled up by hungry caterpillars. Live and learn I guess!

Have a great weekend everyone!





Alphabitty Moments - The letter I

Welcome to Alphabitty Moments where we highlight the ordinary and fleeting moments of childhood one letter of the alphabet at a time!

This week I'm on the letter "I" and chose the word INFLATABLES. Those cumbersome toys that the kids love to play with at the beach will be too small for them someday, but bring so much joy right now.

What "I" word do you want to remember?

Monday, July 26, 2010

footloose and fancy free

Don't get me wrong, we are very tied to the park during the six month camping season, but there are windows of time that 'we' can get away. Two Fridays ago was one of those times. The catch - PapaBear had to stay and work. The kids and I headed out to find supplies for my kid's program scheduled for the next day. Traipsing across six different parking lots is not my favorite way to spend an evening but with the promise of ice cream and Psalty the Singing Songbook in between, we made the most of it.



The weather was beautiful so when I spotted a lacrosse game in progress at a park on our way home I pulled over.











It felt so normal to be out on a Friday night. We don't usually get to do normal. Funny thing is...I didn't miss it. We get to do the important things like spend time with our family & friends, worship in a church we love just down the road, & raise our kids somewhere pretty special.

And that folks is all that matters to this mommy.





For more Mommy and me posts head over to Kyrstyn's blog:

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fun (and free!)

Our favorite garden center has a Family Fun weekend every summer. We went last year and had so much fun! The staff is super friendly and everything is FREE. We were exited to go again this year. The kids bounced, played games, looked at fish, fed the donkeys, and Julia had her face painted...

It was a short visit because we had plans to celebrate my middle sister's birthday at 12:30. They didn't mind the long (hot, because our AC doesn't work) car ride because they had their prizes to play with. Bonus!

When we arrived at the restaurant it turned out that it was Family Fun Day there too! EVERY Sunday is Family Fun Day with a full schedule of events for kids AND there is a playground for them to play on in between games. Kids even eat FREE with an paid adult meal. Double bonus!


The kids were exhausted by the end and not even this giant brownie sundae provided enough sugar to keep them going. Julia was asleep less than a minute after we pulled out of the parking lot. So much fun for one day and all of it FREE!

Friday, July 23, 2010

He waits

Twelve years ago this month I brought home a little white ball of fuzz I named, Contraband, because of the fact that technically I wasn't suppose to have a dog. Conor is my dog in every sense of the word. He doesn't eat if I'm not home. When PapaBear and I both call to him he 100% of the time comes to me.







If PapaBear lets him outside while I am gone he won't bark to come in. He'll wait for me...even if it's the dead of winter. It's the same in the summer too. He finds a spot of shade and watches for me. Did you spot him there under the pine tree?

He's waiting for me.


My first baby, my shedding machine, my puppy-wupster, my faithful companion.

The next generation

We were blessed with an extended visit with my friend Owen and his family a couple of weeks ago. Owen and I go way way back. We met in sixth grade, went to youth group together, walked together for high school graduation, he was an usher in my wedding, I photographed his. He and his wife, Staci, are Sam's Godparents. We are their son Joseph's Godparents.

Now Sam and Joseph are making their own memories as friends.


Sam and Joseph (who Sam kept calling Moses) are 4 months part, but his little sister, Moriah, is only one month younger than our Julia - not to be confused with their Julia who will be two in October.


Ginny, their oldest, was so helpful with the water feature. It was fun to sit back and watch them 'work' while we caught each other up on what we've been up to since they moved back to Wisconsin.


It was nice to not be rushed. They camped in our campground for four nights so we had lots of opportunities to visit, to play disc golf,

and to eat treats....


Since our 15 year class reunion is next month the goodbyes we said when they pulled out after their (buggy) stay wasn't as sad as it otherwise would have been!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The Letter H


Welcome to Alphabitty Moments! I started this carnival as a way to record the everyday moments of childhood that I didn't want to forget. Holidays and milestones usually involve lots of photographs but the little things that make up childhood can so easily be missed in the hustle and bustle of life.

This week we are on the letter H which for us symbolizes the polar opposite of hustle and bustle.

Our hammocks.

A place where we slow down. Where we snuggle close. Where we connect. Where we spend as much time as we can before the mosquitoes force us inside.








We gave Sam a hammock for his 4th birthday - partly so I could have the chance to relax in MY hammock without being jabbed by elbows and knees. Turns out that as much as I enjoy lounging by myself I much prefer to be curled up with my babies (bony elbows and all!)

Some day we won't all fit in the same hammock so I'll savor the time we have!

Now it's your turn...what H moment do YOU want to remember?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer of Firsts for Sam

First time jumping off the end of the dock by himself


first sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's house


first time being able to volley the tennis ball back and forth


first time across the monkey bars by himself



As much as I feel guilty for not spending as much time with the kids as I'd like, I've been blessed to be a part of all of these firsts and for that I'm grateful! Oh how I love those confidence building moments!

One first that I don't mind missing is Sam learning to ride without training wheels....PapaBear takes him up to the tennis courts which is fine by me. I'm such a wimp when it comes to that sort of thing. Better for Daddy to teach him I say!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hands down


The food Julia eats the most of when we go out for pizza?

Peas and Corn.

3 cups worth.

Full of hot air


The kids read a book about using balloons attached to paper airplanes and wanted to make some of their own. On Sam's special day we took a trip to the dollar store to pick up some balloons. Normally we don't buy stuff on their special days but I considered the balloons supplies instead. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Back at home we used paper that had been drawn and/or painted on already to construct our winged masterpieces. It didn't really work very well, but we had fun trying and that's what counts! I treasure the times I get to do do projects with the kids because my time is so limited. They are like little sponges who love to soak up information. I miss being the one to witness that all day long.

Summer vacation will be over before we know it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - the Letter G


Welcome to Alphabitty Moments! If you are new to my carnival please click on the tab on my nav bar for more info on how to participate.

This week's page is brought to you by the letter G. That might not be the letter you are on and that's OK! We'll get back on the same page eventually. All that matters is that you are preserving memories one letter at a time right? Right. G is for Games at our house. We play a lot of games. Every day the kids pull something out of the cupboard where we store the kids games. We have so many adult games that we have a whole other closet for those. I love that Sam and Julia can enjoy the same games I played with as a kid. Enchanted Forest, Candy Land, Sorry..... This is the first year that Sam is able to understand the rules and that makes it lots more fun. His favorites right now are Camp and Uno. What are your kids' favorite games?

Switching gears now:
If you follow me on twitter (4mamabear) you saw my tweet earlier about how to make the process of making a book a little easier. It was hard to explain myself very well in 140 characters so let me try again here: Months ago I made a list of words that were potential Alphabitty Moment words. I really should post it somewhere so I can add to it as I think of new possibilities but for now it's tucked into a notebook. Now when I have my camera out I have all those words in the back of my mind so I can take advantage of photo opps as they come up. No forced photos or dark ones because I didn't plan ahead. Part of the beauty of Alphabitty Moments is capturing the moments of childhood as they happen. Sure we might be on the letter D when you're child goes out to catch lightening bugs, but knowing that you want to record that experience in your book will help you remember to snap a couple of photobook worthy photos and be set when we get to the appropriate letter.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A summer checklist (for three year olds)

I'm behind in writing what we've been doing this summer for my 'how I spent my summer vacation series' and I thought this would be a fun way to catch up from last week. This is Julia's version:


Saturday - visit friends and swim in their big pool. check

Sunday - Eat first tomatoes from the garden.

check

Monday - Bring Mommy breakfast in bed.

check

Tuesday - Play "library program" and perform new acts

check

Wednesday - Play Tennis

check
Thursday - Jump off the dock and

go to a concert in the park (alternate option - nap)
check, check

Friday - Pack suitcase for a sleepover at Grandma's

check

Sunday, July 11, 2010

surrounded by beauty

(click on the image for a closer look)







and love.

A rare treat


I took the kids to see Toy Story 3 the Thursday before the 4th as their reward for doing so well at Sharon's wedding. I don't think I shared the story of how they walked down the aisle did I? Sammy walked down all by himself but Julia hung back so PapaBear went back up the aisle to walk with her. The next time he walks her down the aisle, him in a tux, her in a white dress, it will be her wedding day. Gulp.

But back to the movie outing rundown:
We went to a 7:30 show a few towns away. We took along their blankets and a stuffed animal for each of them. Their eyes got HUGE when they saw how much popcorn came in a a large tub. We sipped water and watched the previews. Sam asked, "is it going to start now?" at least three times.

Julia's chair squeaked and she wasn't heavy enough to make it stay open. Figures.

The kids enjoyed the movie - except for the parts where Sam covered his eyes. It was a little intense in my opinion.

After the movie we went grocery shopping. Yes I know it was 10pm but we make it a point to do at least two things during every trip to town. Gas is way too expensive to not stick to this rule. Shopping was fine - the store was nice and empty so we could get what we needed and head out. Julia said she heard thunder but that didn't make any sense because I could see stars.

The thunder was fireworks! On a Thursday? We went with it and sat and watched them from the Perkin's parking lot before making the long drive home.

Not a typical Thursday or a typical summer vacation day in the least, but it was a good one.

Friday, July 9, 2010

another wedding

I'm out of town so I don't have to do so much driving for a wedding tomorrow. I've made it a habit to attend wedding rehearsals so I am as prepared as possible for the big day. Tonight I also had the opportunity to also do some preschooting of the beautiful reception site. (See twitter for a couple pics of the location)

I was most impressed with the design details and smart thinking that went into a couple of things. The flowers are done and already on site. Yes they are fake but believe me, they are just as pretty and won't get beat up in the heat tomorrow. Also they skipped flowers on the guys. No waiting to pin flowers before we can start pictures!! Guy's flowers always get smooshed anyway. I'm sure the guys will look plenty sharp without them. The color scheme is beautiful and fits the location perfectly. I can't wait to get back there to start shooting!

Actually I take that back. I'm pretty comfortable here in my hotel room. I better not wish away this time alone. I'm not really alone though....I have a bag of M&M's, a cup of coffee, a king sized bed all to myself, a hot tub, cheese and crackers and a TV.

The kids are having their very first sleepover at grandma and grandpa's tonight so daddy can work in the office tonight and tomorrow morning. You should have seen how excited they were about packing their suitcases!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Helmet Head


It's our new game.

In case the name and the photo aren't enough explanation:

One person stands in the middle with a helmet on. The other people take turns trying to touch the helmet with the ball. If you touch it five times you get to be in the middle. It's the place to be because if you are in the middle you get to carry the title of Helmet Head.

We adapted this game from Monkey in the Middle because with only two kids so much shorter than me it isn't very much fun for anyone - no matter how many times I let the ball go sailing over my head without trying to get it.

Helmet Head is way more interactive and fun!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The letter F


Those little magnets that always end up on the floor have been on our fridge for three years. They were on our last fridge and we brought them with to this house two years ago.

They are the reason our kids learned what sounds letters make. It's true. The song is catchy and surprisingly not all that annoying on the scale of annoying toys. Sometimes we make a game out of playing with the letters. Each letter and sound that they get correct means they can move up a step on our kitchen steps that happen to be right next to the refrigerator. The kids think it's fun and love to shout out the sounds. I love that they are having fun AND learning.

Now it's your turn to link up to your Alphabitty Moments post - don't worry if you aren't on the same letter as I am - things got all out of whack because of Sharon's wedding and not having internet access the week after.

Music in the Park


As nice as our living arrangements is in the park, we need a change of scenery every now and then. Thursday night concerts offer just that!

It's fun, free (so is the popcorn!), and kid friendly to boot!

Yet another simple way we are spending our summer vacation.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Growing Veggies in Straw

I wouldn't have it any other way!

No weeding, no bending, no tilling, no digging.

Instead I water when needed, add some food when the plants show signs of needing a boost and this is what happened only 4 weeks after the first picture:


A few other things I'm learning to do along the way:

Don't overdo the nitrogen - if there's too much pumpkins won't form

Sometimes you need to help out in the pollination department (I brush pollen from one plant to the other with a dry paintbrush)

Prune the tomatoes (seen on right) so they don't get so wild and the plant will put more energy into tomato production instead of all those extra branches


Buy a different kind of lettuce - one that doesn't get bitter in hot weather. (That's the lettuce we stopped picking on the left because it tastes TERRIBLE)


Plant way more peas and radishes.

What have YOU learned about gardening this year?

Canoe camping with kids

I've been sharing highlights from our recent trip to the BWCA on Instagram . The spot we go is perfect for families with young kids beca...