Friday, June 26, 2009

"Movin' Right Along...

duh ga dunk, duh ga dunk. Footloose and fancy free"...well not yet. BTW, If you can tell me what movie that song is from, I'll bring you back a special cherry treat from Traverse City.

Anywho, I finally got the kids down today 2 hours after normal naptime. I'm in the middle of laundry, packing car backpack/keep-em-busy bags, and sweeping. ^J^ is not feeling well and he was in bed, but the nursing home just called him in. *A* woke up this morning with a scratchy throat so I've been sneaking her vitamin C all day; oranges for snack, apple juice with lunch, hey, how about an afternoon snack of blueberries and spinach?! I'm telling everyone to get it all over and done with now because no one's gonna be sick on this vacation!

We just trained our new dogsitter and in the process figured out we're going to be gone for 10 days!!! That's a lot longer than I'd realized, and we're so ready. I'm not one of those people who "needs to get off the mountain" typically, but this break is coming at the perfect time. I am sad though to be missing the 4th of July festivities on the mountain because they sound amazing, but hopefully we can be here for them next year. We are "friends" (she knows us because she works in the cashier's office and she loves when the kids and I come to pick up a's easy to become "friends" with people in Sewanee) with the lady who is running the kids activites for the 4th and she found out we won't be here so she called our house yesterday and told us to stop by her office because she had gifts for the kids. We went this morning and she had put together a bag of festive goodies for both kids with candy, noisemakers, red white and blue jewlrey, and star-shaped sunglasses. I guess it's all the treats they give to the kids during the activities and she didn't want our kids to miss out! Isn't that sweet? That's Sewanee for ya! The kids loved the star-sunglasses the best and *A* decided she was a "star rocker" (ie. rock star) so she and (H) sang songs all the way down the mountain to the library.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dog Days

Well we're finally in a routine and it's become a tad bit..routine. Wake up, run errands, swimming, lunch, naps, figure out what to do and not swelter, dinner, bed. Don't get me wrong, we're having lots of fun, but I'm so ready for our upcoming break when we'll be going to Traverse City, Michigan!!! The kids are excited too and *A* asks me every morning how many more days. The drive will be the hard part, 12 hours in a truck with 3 adults and 2 children. Oh my. At least there will be lots of people to keep the kids entertained and we'll make fun stops along the way.

Traverse City is a slice of heaven on Earth and we would move there in a heartbeat. It's the cherry capital of the world and we just happen to be going during the International Cherry Festival which is a whole lotta downhome fun complete with pit spit contests, an awesome parade, a frisbee dog contest, and lots of cherry-enhanced food!
Here are some pictures from our visit 4 years ago when *A* was 6 months old. Gotta go dream about cooler weather, Vernor's Ginger Ale, amazing sunsets, dark chocolate covered cherries, and rock-collecting on the beach.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

We had a great time this weekend. Friday we went back to our "secret" swimming hole with our friends and then over to their house for dinner and playing. Saturday was my birthday and my only request was that i didn't have to plan anything. We went out to breakfast then to the Swimplex in Winchester which was very fun. We had packed a picnic lunch and then swam some more until the kids were about to fall asleep in the pool. Then we went home for naps and had yummy take-out for dinner followed by a kid-made birthday cake. It was a really great day. Sunday we went to Chattanooga because I have been wanting to go to the Farmer's Market for a while and it's only on Sundays. It was awesome. Loads of fresh produce all at great prices, lots of arts and crafts, and live music. There was a free kid play area too and a rock-climbing wall that *A* braved. They each got a balloon animal, *A* a butterfly and (H) a turtle that he could wear on his wrist. ^J^ loved it too and he got a beer and a "'noog" sticker for his banjo case. I ended up getting some roving wool from local sheep and a homemade drop spindle for spinning the wool into yarn. I have been wanting to make a drop spindle for a long time, but of course it was easier to buy one, so now I can finally spin my own yarn! Yay! We went to the water-play area outside the Aquarium after this, and it was in the high 90's so it was such a great day for it. The kids just laid in the water up to their chins and we hid in the shade and loved the breeze off the river. It was just about a perfect weekend, the only thing that would have made it more perfect is to have had pictures to share. My mom did get a few in Chattanooga, so if I get them, I'll add them later.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lake Lovers

Yesterday we discovered an awesome new spot for swimming near our house. It's kind of a local secret and we have to have a "pass" and everything, doesn't that sound mysterious? :)
It's so mysterious I have no pictures to share, you'll just have to go with us sometime and discover it for yourself! Maybe I'll take pictures when I get my camera fixed, but maybe not. He, he, he.
Anywho, here are some pictures at the not-so-mysterious Lake Cheston from last week. Thanks again to Julie for sharing her pictures with me (and with you)!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Aquarium Kids

Last Friday we went to the Chattanooga Aquarium to celebrate Gramps' (my step-dad) birthday. Thanks to my mom, we have some pictures to share!

It was big fun and the kids loved the sharks, penguins, seahorses, butterflys, and turtles. Unfortunately we didn't have time to go play in the water play area outside so we'll have to go back soon! Especially since it's finally been hot this week, not as hot as most places, but it's finally in the high 80s. Normally I'm not excited about the heat, but not having it (and the low humidity) makes me appreciate these warmer days.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sewanee Wildlife

This summer we are so into exploring the wildlife of Sewanee. From almost daily fishing trips at the lake behind our house to finding and identifying birds and insects, we have become wildlife lovers. My new adventure is to find caterpillar eggs and watch them grow and transform. Apparently you can find them on the tops of veggies and herb plants so we're going to check our garden today.

We found this butterfly the other day, it was just sitting still in the middle of the road, I'm pretty sure it had just come out of it's chrysalis and it was drying it's wings because it had no interest in flying. We talked about how to pick it up without damaging it's wings (you put your finger in front of it's front legs and let it walk on your finger). So *A* picked it up and it stayed with her for about 15 minutes until it was ready to fly on it's own. It was magical to her and now she thinks all butterflies are going to just hang out on her finger. We love this blog for lots of nature info. Like do you know the difference between a damsel fly and a dragon fly? Thanks to this blog, we now do! Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Week's End

It's been a really good week. We've gotten into a daily routine: Morning begins with lots of books, games and playing, then *A*'s swimming lessons which creates nap-filled afternoons followed by more playing, great homecooked dinners, and more wearing out of children. They've been going to bed later since they're napping but it's no big deal because we can do fun stuff in the evenings (2 nights ago we fished with our friends behind our house, last night we went to the local lake "beach", and tonight on the agenda we are catching lightning bugs), and then they sleep in.

The first swimming session is over and so we went ahead and signed her up for 2 more weeks. She has new skills everyday and we didn't want that to stop. Today she swam/floated on her back while kicking her feet all at the same time. She is able to move up to the next class now and will hopefully continue to perfect her strokes. They started adding their arms for each stroke but that was a little much, she does it perfectly outside of the water but once she's in there, it's hard to coordinate with legs and breathing. So we'll see what skills develop next week. Today was the last day of session one so they did something special for all the kids and let them go off the diving board! With most of the kids one coach held the kids from the board and dangled them gently into the water where another coach caught them. I think next time *A* will want to do more of a jump now that she knows what it's like. She was super-excited and didn't want to leave until we saw everyone, including the coaches, jump in.

Ok, we have lots of errands to run. We're celebrating my step-dad's (Gramps to the kids) birthday tomorrow in Chattanooga at the aquarium and I'm hostessing a wedding and ^J^'s parents this weekend. Phew. Have a good one!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Some Old Stuff

Here are some pictures my friend Julie sent of some beginning of the summer events. Thanks Julie!!!

From *A*'s buddy's going away tea party. The girls dressed up and had real tea (or chocolate milk) and yummy cake. The boys were invited too of course. We miss you bunches Kathryn!

From one of our weekly Friday Night Summer Picnics

And finally some action shots of the kids and their buddy Ryan (who is the only other kid their age left on the mountain right now) wrestling with Ryan's daddy, Stephen. I love the one where (H) and Stephen are roaring!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend O' Fun

We really know how to pack in the fun I tell you. I won't go into a blow by blow, mainly because the bagels will burn if I stay too long on the computer, but we had a great weekend. From fishing to exploring new restaurants to discovering the drive-in theater, we had a blast. FYI UP is a great movie. Earth is not. Ok, gotta run and finish breakfast and then run lots of errands. Happy Monday! More later hopefully.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Random Things

Here are some random shots from last week, since I don't have the ability to post any new pictures. :(
There's lots I wish I could be showing right now too: Fishing at the lake, we actually caught one the other day and boy was that exciting! Playing at the super-cool Monteagle park, and swimming lessons. We LOVE swimming lessons! Man, that girl is like a little minnow right now. Everyday she gets more and more brave and yesterday she decided to jump off the side of the 4.5 foot deep area of the pool with no floaty on and no help (me holding her hand). She just jumps in, goes completely under, pushes off with her feet and pops back up to the surface! This happened yesterday when we all went back to the pool in the afternoon. At swimming lessons she has been put into the group of kids who are comfortable putting their face in and trying to swim. There are 10 kids in the class and she and only 2 others are separated out so they can work on more "advanced" skills. I can not recommend these lessons highly enough. The coach that teaches them is the swimming coach for the University and he is awesome! Everything they do is a useful skill that builds upon other skills. They teach them the proper way to do it from day one so that when they get older they know how to do the strokes the right way. Anywho, it's good stuff, the only problem is that she gets in trouble for being underwater too much! She is so excited about her new skills and everytime I look at her all I see is this little bottom floating above the water. The assistant coaches are constantly having to tell her to stay above water while they are trying to talk...oops. :)

Ok, here's some visual stimulation to keep you occupied for now...not sure what's going to happen with our camera. It's under warranty but it's gonnna be 2 weeks until we get it back! Ahhh, I can't handle that!

Here they are shaking it at one of many dance parties:

Here they are showing off the tattoos *A* drew on them one morning when I thought they were peacefully doing watercolor painting in her room, they were painting all right, just not on paper. The best part about this little fiasco was the way (H) kept calling his tattoos his "statues".

And here's a little bathtime phonics lesson *A* made up. The next day she had about 6 pictures and corresponding beginning sounds all over the wall, but of course the camera had broken by then so I couldn't capture it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Peas and Quiet

I'm enjoying a rare quiet house while the kiddos sleep and ^J^ runs errands. I've cleaned house today so instead of my usual feeling of guilt spending time on the computer, it feels relaxing. Unfortunately I may have broken our camera. After being uber-careful on our trip to the beach not to get it wet or get sand in it, I put it in my purse (which happened to have a bit of sand in it), without it's cover, and now there is a "lens error" and it won't focus and then turns off. I'm hoping that it's still under warranty. I've sort of avoided turning it on the past few days hoping time will heal it. I kinda doubt it though.
So this week we're getting into the groove of summer. Breakfast on the back porch, walks and outside time in the morning followed by swim lessons for *A*, lunch, rest/naps, more outside time, dinner on the back porch, and bed. Mix in some fishing at the lake, movie nights, and lots of art at the kitchen table and that's pretty much our life for the forseeable future. Pretty darn perfect. More summer fun to come, hopefully with pictures!