Saturday, September 1, 2018

Lake Time

We won the neighborhood lottery, hands down. When we moved here a few years back, we had hoped to find a neighborhood that better fit our family. Really all we were looking for were a few kids that ours could hang out with from time to time and maybe someone we could share a cocktail or glass of wine with once in a while.

What we ended up with reaches so far beyond this it's hard to explain. We're feeling pretty lucky to say the least.

For the second year in a row we've joined one of our neighbors for a weekend away at their lake house in Michigan. Mother Nature spoiled us with summer like temperatures over the holiday weekend and we soaked up every second.

Saying good-bye to summer with a bang.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Monday, August 20, 2018

25 Cents

They probably circled this thing for 20 minutes before they finally made a choice. It was fun to watch them carefully weigh all of their options before finally committing.

The outcome: Skittles for G, Runts for C

Friday, August 17, 2018

First Sleepover

We wrapped the first week of the school year with a pep rally on the playground at the school. Popsicles, a DJ, games and the entire playground full of kids and parents all getting back into the swing of things after the long summer break.

As we were leaving, the girls came running over excitedly to ask if our neighbor could have a sleepover with them. Why not?

So M came over, pajamas in hand, and a whole lot of giggles ensured for the next few hours. I'm not exactly sure what time they finally got to sleep. But once they did they all slept straight through the night. Sometimes the best things are left unplanned. Here's to the first of what I suspect will be many sleepovers for these 3!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

First Day of School 2018

This school year started with a bit of a blur. Still running off of the adrenaline from the big slide days ago, the girls dressed, had breakfast and then took pictures before walking Charlotte to her first day of second grade. Then into the car to drive Grace to her first day of Kindergarten. She misses the school cutoff just barely so she won't join Charlotte at the public school until next year.

No fear, hesitation or nervousness for either of them. Just excitement. Looking forward to watching them both grow this year and seeing what kinds of incredible things are in store for them both.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Iowa State Fair 2018

Iowa State Fair 2018. It never disappoints.

Year after year we return in anticipation of the same traditions. Lemonade at the same stand as always, as many trips down the big slide as we can squeeze in, mini donuts for breakfast, and the list goes on.

As the girls get older we find that we spend a bit more time in the carnival area with the rides. Luckily they've made some changes over the years and they now have a dedicated area for kids rides which makes for shorter lines and less crowds.

We stayed for 3 days, taking full advantage of the mornings before the park became too crowded. Then, a little after lunch we'd head back up to the campgrounds and enjoy the a/c of the camper along with a nap if we were lucky. In the evening, as most people are headed home, we'd catch the tractor back down to the fairgrounds and wander around for the rest of the evening.

Aunt Colleen joined us the last night and we also ran into some old friends we hadn't seen for a while and it was nice to catch up.

Lots of fun. Lots of sweat. Not enough hours in the day to take it all in.

Bedtimes were made to be broken, and few reasons are better than a night at the fair.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Because We Can

Silliness is part of what we do. You can't take yourself too seriously.

Evening walks turned into meditation in trees, impromptu superhero squad pose, and bench turned trundle bed for stuffed animal friends. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Blueberry Picking

Up early to get a head start on blueberry picking. We had a short drive to the farm which made just enough time to enjoy a cup of coffee and some snacks on the way there.

This place never changes. The same woman greets us outside her small cute red shed each year. A small table set up with a few things for sale, including the maple syrup they harvest form the trees on the farm each year. We park, pick up some buckets, and get directions on what patch of berries we're headed to. Back in the car, down the hill and we follow the curves around over rough path ways that hardly pass as driveways. Overgrown with grass, trees arching over the top, while blueberry bushes taller than most adults whip past on our right. 

We park and unload each taking a bucket with us. Nearly 3 hours later, once all of our buckets are full we pack back up and drive the same path back up to the small shed and weigh our berries. 48 pounds this year. It may be a bit shy of what we need for the year, but with some still in the freezer from last year it should be enough to get by. 

We're hot, and dirty. The girls have stained fingers and their lips have a purple hue after "sampling" along the way. A stop at Cranes pie shop on the way back to the campsite and then the afternoon will be spent at the pool before we start the fire, enjoy some dinner and end with s'mores. 

Under the stars, with a slight chill in the air, full bellies and tired legs. We'll sleep well tonight. 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Blueberry Weekend Camping

The logistics of blueberry weekend are always a bit of a last minute decision. Leading up to blueberry season we have to keep an eye on the weather, colder springs and summers mean the blueberries will be better the later we go. We've made the mistake of going too early in the season, and while the berries are still good, they are much harder to pick, and not quite as sweet.

Once we nail down the weekend, we have to decide where to stay. Hotel, day trip, or camping. We've done them all, and each one affords it's own benefits. This year, the weather was in our favor, and we found a campsite with openings nearby so we went the camping route. The girls think camping is the greatest kind of adventure and given we agree we have no room to argue.

The place we found is about as far from our typical campsite as I can imagine. It had everything from organized Bingo and water gun fights to it's own ice-cream shop and cafe. It was an entire camping town. So not somewhere that we're going to find a lot of back-to-nature feels, but it was perfect for our weekend with plenty to do and more than one stop to the cafe to supplement our evening meal with french fries and ice cream!

We got in Friday afternoon just in time to get the tent set up and get a fire started for dinner. Saturday morning was an early rise so that we could beat some of the heat and get our blueberry picking wrapped early with plenty of time left in the day for other adventures.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Weekend At Home

With all of our travel in June, we're still recouping and it feels good to be home for the weekend. 
We've made some real progress on the pantry this month, and we're down to final touches now. The girls did some bike riding. Charlotte graduated to a bigger bike, and Grace is still trying to get the hang of pedals....not quite there yet, but she's trying!