Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A few Christmas pictures

Getting ready for Christmas Eve liturgy.
Elijah dressed himself. I thought it was so sweet that he wanted to wear a tie and his wooden cross.
I've been working to clean out the attic and found these two candle holders and thought they looked nice with this Laura Greene original. Also, they came in handy for light on Christmas Eve when our power went out.
I really like having our piano as a place to set our nativity set. It's Fontanini that we got it as a wedding gift. Nothing like at my grandma's house. She has the whole Fontanini town of Bethlehem. I still really like our little starter set. We don't add Jesus to the manger until Christmas morning.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the gifts are (almost) all opened

and what is Mary playing with? Scotch tape and post-it notes. AUGH! Why do we even shop?

Today we are home and working on the attic. We were super surprised to come home to much of the work done: the electricity finished and a wall built around the stairwell to keep small children or drunk people from plummeting to their death. Now comes the cleaning and rearranging and getting rid of 50 year old cobwebs. I honestly can't say I've ever seen a spider up there, but there sure are lots of cobwebs.

AND for my Christmas gift from Laura--a total shock as we got home last night, a redone bathroom. A new light fixture, towel rack, new hardware, fresh paint and outlet. I can actually do my hair in the bathroom for the first time since we've lived here (just one of the many joys of living in an old house). And maybe even better--the shower was scrubbed and shining. (Perhaps also since we first moved in!! : ))

Thanks everyone, for your hard work!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's 8 o clock and I am the only one up!

We've been in Michigan visiting my extended family for Christmas and it has been SO MUCH FUN! The crazy part is--if you know my kids--they almost never sleep past 7:00, even when they stay up late. We've been keeping them so active and up so late for the past three days they've been sleeping in until 9:00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is so unheard of for us.

We got here on Christmas day with a very nice and uneventful drive to get here. Everyone was quiet and relatively peaceful. Once we arrived here the partying began and almost literally hasn't stopped. We're staying with my dad's parents (my mom, dad, and brother were here too, but left yesterday) and I have a relatively big family so there are people (and especially kids to play with) around pretty much all the time.

We ate Christmas dinner and then the crazy fun began. We always have a white elephant gift exchange among the adults with lots of stealing. The kid's "bedroom" is in the finished basement with the ping pong table and area for running around and building forts, etc. so they really couldn't go to sleep until everyone left so most night they've been going to bed around 11:00.

The next day was spent relaxing at my grandparents house with just the core of us who were staying here. We watched cable and played ping pong and took a nap. That evening we got dressed up to celebrate my grandparents 60th anniversary (their 50th was just the day before we got married) by surprising them with a stretch limo (for all 26 of us) to take us to dinner. The kids' favorite part was playing games on some of my family members iPhones and getting to walk around while the car was moving--NO seatbelts, mom! We drank champagne and wine and had a great time getting to the restaurant. When we got back to their house at 10:00 p.m. we ate cake that my aunts and cousins made before we crashed.

I'll post the rest of our weekend later. Kids are waking up.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!


Our second tree of the year. After deciding to take down our usual small artificial tree last weekend and get a $10.00 large one, I am rededicating myself to keeping the family tradition of a real tree. I mean, why else do we have 10 foot ceilings? I had fooled myself into the idea that having an artificial tree with a nice pine scented candle was the same, but no.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just. One. More. Day.

I hope we make it!!! Then we can all breathe a big sigh of relief. This is one of those weeks when being a two-teacher family is challenging.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

my phone took a coffee bath

This isn't the first time this has happened to me, by the way. Can I just vent for a minute? I'm trying not to be a debbie downer. Today I was in a hurry and being impatient as I left for work. I had my hands full and put my coffee on top of the banana peel left from yesterday's breakfast in the drink holder. Then I threw the van in reverse and took off. A minute later I went to take a drink and my coffee cup was missing. I looked down and there it was upside down--IN MY PURSE! My purse was filled with coffee and inside my wallet, checkbook, phone, and a new book of Christmas stamps were floating, sopping wet. GRRR.

This is right on the heels of the previous day when Brian and I had stayed up late and then I was up with Emily from 3-4 a.m. and then our alarm didn't go off because a certain unnamed boy with a love for audio books was in our room using the cd player on our alarm clock took the cd out, but didn't change the setting back to radio. So technically the alarm did go off, but we heard only the silence of the empty cd player. We woke up at 7:00. (Perspective--Brian usually is on his way to work at 7:00. I am showered, dressed, lunches made, coffee made, getting the kids' breakfast ready at 7:00. This was an "OH, CRAP!!" moment.) Thankfully Brian was gracious and let me get showered and he got all three kids up and dressed and took the dog out. I never really did shake it off though. It kind of wrecked me for the day.

I'm really hoping that tomorrow looks a little brighter.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A New Tradition

Today we commemorate Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker. We have wanted to do some celebrating for the past few years, but just never had our act together. So this year we had plans! Saturday evening was our children's church and we focused on the life of this holy saint. I read my group a book about his life and miracles and had them make a soup mix in a jar to secretly give away to someone in need in the spirit of St. Nicholas. If you want more information about his life click here. After our kids went to bed we baked a St. Nicholas cake with a chocolate coin hidden inside for one lucky cake eater to find, put the rest of the coins in their shoes outside their door and wrapped one gift each under the tree. They really weren't expecting anything since we've never celebrated this day before, so their reactions were priceless--even though they were at 6:15 a.m. Why were they up? Who knows? But I could hear them discovering things from my bed. Finally Mary came in and told me that there were gold coins in their shoes and asked if the presents were for them and if they could be opened. So Brian and I went out and watched them opening their gifts. His comment was that it was better than Christmas because it was just one thing to open and there wasn't any chaos. Elijah got this Star Wars lego set that he's been desperately wanting and we got Mary feetie pajamas which she has been wanting for the past few weeks since Emily got several pair for her birthday. Emily got a cute hat and mitten set that she hardly took off all day. They were all so happy with their one small treasure. Elijah, bless his heart, said to me later this evening, "Mom, it's okay if I don't get anything else for Christmas. I am satisfied with this." What a kid. Mary really was getting into the spirit--she kept hiding candy under their pillows and telling us to go look--St. Nicholas must have visited us. For dinner tonight we cut into the cake and found the hidden coin.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Toy review

Okay, so I must have toys on the brain. If you know me, you know I am not much for shopping. I have just found the best company that I had to share. We have been enjoying this ISpy Go Fish game for several months now (and when I say we...well, you know who you are!) Tonight when Brian and I were playing each other I started reading the directions and decided to look up the company online and they make the COOLEST THINGS for nerdy moms who like educational games and puzzles instead of video games! You have to check them out if you have kids aged 2-8. I promise I'm not getting any money from them, but I did just order a game and a couple of puzzles for my kids for Christmas. Target.com carries their products, but it looks like only some of them are in the stores.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

So, speaking of Emily

She is hilarious! All of a sudden she LOVES books. As I type, she is loading up her little wagon with all the contents of her bookshelf and then settling on the couch so she can read them all. She remembers the intonations I use when I read certain stories to her and she will "read" them in the same voices I use. Some of her favorites: Big Red Barn (which is getting pretty ratty if anyone is looking a for a Christmas idea), Goodnight Moon (always a favorite), Kim and Carrots (which is actually a small magazine called Babybug, and her new favorite: OWL BABIES. I love this book. She asks me to read it to her all the time. "Mommy, Read Owls?" It's adorable and impossible to say no.

Yesterday was her 2 year check up with our next new doctor. Again, not Dr. Miller. Rats. I am starting to think about just sucking it up and enduring the long wait times to go back to her. The new doctor was perfectly nice, just not the doctor that knows me at the grocery store and knows exactly what our family history is like. Emily's stats were: Weight between 75th-90th percentile, Height 90th percentile. She is pretty much on the same trajectory she's been on since birth: BIG.

Also, I wanted to write about her memory. It is ridiculous! I can't believe how she knows things. Like today when an older sibling of one of her friends came to pick up at the sitter. She sees this boy maybe once every few weeks. He walked up and she said his name. How does she remember that? When I picked her up today she remembered that her cup was in the fridge (we don't usually bring one from home, so it's not a daily thing) and that her doggie was in the take-home drawer. I didn't actually remember either of those things, so I guess it's a good thing she did!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Birthday a few days late






Dear Emily,

It is just your luck that you are not only the third child, but your birthday happens to be around two of the biggest holidays of the year. I am terribly sorry in advance for the lack of birthday preparations you will probably experience.

Love,

Mom

Friday, November 27, 2009

The fun just keeps on comin'

Today was such a fun day, starting out with breakfast with my parents and grandparents at Cracker Barrel. Brian and Emily stayed home because she is very sick! So it was just the seven of us. The kids were great and we had a nice meal despite the thousands of other people there. Then we came home to pick up Em and Brian and headed over to my parents' house for some more hang time. It was so relaxing and fun to drink coffee all day, knit, visit, and and play games. We left around 3:00 to head home, but decided to make it a pit stop at home to get the dog and the stroller and went over to Prophetstown State Park for a walk. It was beautiful. We went all the way to the back of the park where we never make it to and walked down to the creek and then took a more brisk walk on the paved trail. By the time we were leaving it was dusk and we drove very slowly out of the park to spot deer. They were everywhere! We even saw a decent sized buck with antlers. Tomorrow is Emily's birthday and gingerbread house making day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! It has been a very laid back day for us so far. Strangely Thanksgiving is one day that I miss having a tv. I really always liked watching the parades in the morning. Brian tried to make me feel better by pulling the Macy's parade up on someone's streaming webcam, but it actually isn't the same as hearing the banter of the annoying hosts talking about each float.

This is the first year we made food for the Lafayette Urban Ministry meal and took it down there this morning. Elijah was so proud to carry the food in to the church--it was raining and I didn't feel comfortable leaving the girls alone in the van--there were lots of homeless people wandering down there.

We'll head to Brian's grandma's this afternoon and then visit my family later tonight. We've been busy making pies (8 of them in all!) and green bean casserole. YUM! We're all a bit under the weather so we'll probably have a quiet weekend, but I have been looking at some natural toy websites and finding some REALLY cute things for Christmas ideas. I'm usually really bad about having good gift ideas for people when they ask me what to buy for my kids. I personally feel like they already have plenty of things and I hate to buy things just because that's what you do at Christmas. But, this year I am armed and ready with some quality options.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Overheard on Friday night

As we were taking a tour of the Long Center and meeting the conductor of the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra:

Elijah: "Mom, why do they have a microwave down here?" (in the downstairs dressing/warm up room)

Me:

Elijah: (before I can even respond) " I bet they just sit down here and eat popcorn and smoke cigarettes."

Clearly.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Last minute plans

Last night Elijah got to cash in on his birthday present from Aunt Meg and Uncle Everette: a Purdue basketball game. It's all he could talk about all week. (I haven't heard from him yet this morning to know how it went, but I'm sure he'll have lots to say.) But, since he was going out to do something special, we decided to take Mary Grace out too. We had planned to drive back out to Brian's school to see their fall play, but to be honest, I didn't really want to go--he is a big wig there and it's impossible to actually hang out with him except for the drive to and from. And, there's the drive. Mary was pretty tired yesterday and pretty, um, grouchy. I was envisioning us driving her home at 11:00 and our whole weekend being ruined because when she gets overtired she actually ends up sleeping less, not more. So. What we decided to do was just stay in town, grab a bite to eat, and then do something low key. But. As we were at Pizza Hut (Brian was thrilled about her choice, let me tell you) she remembered that her sitter was taking her granddaughter to see High School Musical on Stage at Jeff HS. We looked at each other and wondered. Could we do it? The time was 6:20. We didn't even know what time it started. But, that's the beauty of living in town, I guess. We finished our pizza buffet and headed for Jeff, all the while reminding ourselves that there probably won't be tickets, we probably won't be able to go, our after dinner plans will probably include walking at the mall. BUT.
When we got there there WERE tickets left and the show was just getting ready to start. MARY LOVED IT!!!!!!!!! And I was excited to see a student in the show who helps in my classroom this year and FORMER KINDERGARTNERS!!! Oh my, I am old. My first year of teaching was 10 years ago. I have kindergartners who are now FRESHMEN. In the show. WOW. It was definitely a good night and we couldn't have planned it better.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spoiler Alert

Potential Christmas card pictures coming up...

My sister-in-law, Megan, took our first-- yes, our first. ever. family portraits on Sunday. She has them on her photography business website. MANY of them turned out really well (Does that sound vain or complementary to the photographer?) Anyway, we like lots of them. Except that our kids look, well, old. I know that seems to be a running them among my blog posts.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Well, it's done.


I guess all I can do is wait now to find out if we go to Alaska this summer or not. I've been diligently working on writing a Lilly Teacher Creativity grant for personal renewal. It will be a month long trip to Alaska, flying into Anchorage and then driving by RV to state parks. I totally am not planning on getting it......But. What if I do? It's an $8,000 grant. Just for personal renewal of teachers. They fund 120 every year. Will mine make the cut? We definitely could not self-fund an $8,000 trip. So, if it doesn't pan out we are tentatively making plans for Yellowstone this summer. Although, I can't help but think that in terms of buying a new van (which we will NEED to do if we are going to continue driving across the country every summer) it would be great to not need to use it this summer so that we can finish paying on it before we sell it. At this point with it needing a totally overhauled a/c I can't imagine us getting enough out of it to make a decent down payment on the next one...unless we don't owe very much on it.

Unfortunately I won't have any information about the grant until February. I am trying to not be anxious about it. Actually, I'm not. Yellowstone would be awesome. Heck, I'd go back and do the exact same trip we took last summer and not even be the slightest bit disappointed. But, even still it's the waiting. And the wondering.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I know it's totally lame that this video is sideways and I forget to keep it side to side every time I use my camera to take video, but this was a HUGE milestone in our family so I decided to post it anyway. Elijah has decided to not be nasty about taking piano lessons. He's going to be starting soon, but this weekend we were working with him on getting his musical ear in tune. You know like listening for which pitches are higher/lower, etc. and just having a general feel for the keyboard. He stuck with it until he could play 2 songs by ear: Twinkle, Twinkle and Mary Had a Little Lamb. He has trouble getting over that initial hurdle of getting started with a new thing. He always expects to try something new and know how to do it like an expert. video

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Pictures!

I know I just posted about growth, but now everyone seems to think the monkey bars are easy. This is new.

Emily has discovered the word yucky. Lots of things are "Ewww, yucky." Like the inside of this pumpkin. I swear I didn't prompt her.

Football was an interesting experience. Brian was the coach and now that it's over he says he'll do it again, but it seemed a little trying at times. Elijah definitely is more willing to listen to someone other than a family member giving him instruction. I actually rarely went to games and never went to a practice which was also a new experience for us. It just never seemed to work out.
There are definitely some pros to being a 2 teacher family: we'll call those things June, July, and August. But. There are also some cons: we'll call those things first day of school (there isn't anyone to take our own children to their first day of school) and report card and parent teacher conference time. Ugh. Sigh. Zzzzzzz.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sometimes I am baffled when my children make big leaps in development. I feel like I just turned around and--hey, weren't you just crawling and eating baby food last week? All of a sudden Emily is like a little person. She sings songs. Well enough that you can discriminate what it is. Her favorites are Baa Baa Black Sheep, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the ABC song (Conveniently they are all the same tune!) She remembers things. For a long time. Like tonight when she was going to bed. She said, "Cup. Cup outside momma." And sure enough I went and looked and she had left her water outside by the playset. She also has this thing about coloring right now. She says, "Look momma, I color E." I don't know why she is always coloring E. Maybe her sitter says that since it's the first letter of her name. When our friends the Fishes came into church on Sunday she exclaimed, "Caroline! Lucy! Annie!" and would not be content until they came over by us. Of course she also tried to gouge Lucy's eyes out when she tried to sit on my lap. She doesn't want anyone coming near her mom. She did the same thing to her cousin last week, so no hard feelings Lucy. Along with the good is certainly the bad. Emily has also decided that everything is "mine." Even if she hasn't played with it in the last hour but has played with it before. It's "mine." Man, I forgot about how fun toddlers can be. The best though is that she has learned to say, "I wuv you." and she says it to all of us at home. She loves her brother and sister so much. She will initiate, "I wuv you Jijah. Wuv you Mee (Mary)." It is neat to see her being able to play with them more. She certainly isn't a baby anymore.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I am quite sure that I can't articulate how I have been feeling lately as I finish reading (and listening--I love audio books) the Little House on the Prairie series. There is a part of me that thinks of the Dakota prairie every day and longs for it like something I've never had before. Maybe everyone connects with these stories--that's why they are so wildly popular. Anyhow, I have now plunged ahead to read more writings by Laura and her daughter, Rose. I just have to know more!! I found several books at the library today and started on A Little House Sampler, writings from mother and daughter. Here is an amazing quote from Rose as she writes about herself as a writer:

"I love life because it is always, always interesting. Pessimists say that life is bitter and cruel and hard to bear; optimists say that it is bright and joyful and full of hope. I think they are both right. Pain and joy, happiness and suffering, as they enter an individual life, are alike in the one quality of being always a new experience, and therefore interesting. The value of life, to me, is that it is so big, and we are so small, that we can never get hold of all of it: there is forever something more, still unknown."


By the way, my new header photo is one of the cottonwood trees that Pa Ingalls planted at their Dakota claim. Still standing. We've seen it and touched it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

If anyone still reads this blog : )







Here are the pictures of the girls at the Feast of the Hunter's Moon last weekend. My mom spent the better part of last week putting Mary's dress together and it turned out splendidly! Just beautiful. Emily got a bonnet as well, after seeing how much she enjoyed her sister's. Unfortunately the weekend didn't pan out quite like we'd hoped--the rain made the Feast a mud hole and to make a long story short I ended up taking the girls on the shuttle bus to get there and upon arrival didn't have a way to transport our 'wants to run away' toddler, so I ended up carrying her most of the day. I started feeling sick and didn't even get to play my fife with the corps like I was planning to, and it was a good thing I decided I just wasn't up for it. I ended up sick in bed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday with the worst strep throat I've ever had. Elijah was also down sick with a sinus infection for 2 days. His school closed today for the next two days because they have so many out with the flu.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hold onto Hope

Next Saturday, October 10th, I am taking Mary and Emily with me to do a 2 mile Walk for Life around Lafayette. This walk raises money for Matrix Lifeline Pregnancy Center in the Lafayette area. Matrix provides assistance to pregnant women and families with young children and offers guidance to women looking for alternatives to abortion. If you are interested in sponsoring our walk, please add a comment or email me at michelle@elmills.com. They will send you a letter to collect the money. Here is more information if anyone is interested.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A few pictures and our fun weekend




Our new back-to-school mantra goes like this: "No...No...No." We are learning that for us, less is more right now. So far our weekends have been a great balance of housework and relaxation. It helps that Brian is finally to the point that he desires a clean and orderly house too, and that our kids are old enough to actually have real cleaning jobs so I have lots of help.

On Friday Brian and I went out on a date--one where we actually hired a sitter that isn't related to us. And paid her money. We went to the Seeger football game. Romantic, huh? It was a lot of fun! What we love more than lots of things is talking in the car, so it actually was just perfect for us. When we got home we rented Sunshine Cleaning and I would highly recommend it. I watch about 5 movies per year anymore because they mostly are garbage in my opinion. This one was thoughtful; with well-developed characters and only a little bit of ridiculous sex scences (even though it is rated R).

On Saturday evening we celebrated Brian and his mom's birthdays at his parents' house. He got a laptop for his birthday!! Wowzers. An ipod and a laptop within 2 months. We are almost not technologically in the dark ages anymore.

We spent lots of time doing nothing this weekend. Which is new for us, but we sure like it. Today we found a u-pick apple orchard between here and Indy and picked about 30 lbs. of apples. We used our new Jack LaLanne power juicer and made apple juice (which is actually more like cider) out of some of them when we got home. We also juiced a veggie mixture to use as a base for the chili that I simmered all afternoon. It had carrots, swiss chard, onion, tomatoes, and celery in it. I'm sure it's healthy, but boy was it ever ugly.

In closing, if anyone has any ideas about how to keep a girl from taking her diaper off and peeing in her crib every day, please inform. Or maybe just get me some more laundry detergent.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Overheard in my van


Aunt Laura, you'll love this one.

As we were driving through downtown Lafayette the other day, we passed by Trinity UMC. Elijah exclaims, "1869 !! Mom, that church was built in 1869. That's the same year Henri Matisse was born."

Saturday, August 22, 2009




I can hardly believe it, but in one hour it will mark 7 years that Elijah has been out of me and living in this world. We decided to have his party next Saturday in light of the first week of school, but we did our fair share of celebrating today anyway. We had an impromptu breakfast at IHOP complete with singing and clapping wait staff (and an ice cream sundae for breakfast--this is after his hot chocolate with whipped cream and pancakes, eggs, and bacon!). This evening we took him shopping for his first big boy present-a bow and arrow. It's still a little surreal to me. Five was getting big. Six was kind of big, but still just kindergarten. Seven seems different. Like, no longer a little kid (well, who are we kidding? Elijah hasn't been "little" since 2003.) He is a school aged child. Happy Birthday man cub!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

cutting back

In the interest of my sanity I am cutting out some things that I think are important, but just not attainable for me right now. No more cloth diapers during the week, no more teaching flute lessons, no more fall garden; and we are making a serious effort to not plan up all of our weekends. I am trying enjoy my job and not to start the countdown to next summer when I can "be me" again.

We got rid of our entertainment center and tv on Sunday. Took them to the curb and they were gone within the hour. We found an ad on craigslist for a free piano that we are picking up this week. Man, does it ever feel great to not have a tv again!

We have a houseguest this week: it's our dog buddy, Judah! Carter is so happy having a friend here that we are considering getting a second dog. It is breathing new life into that tired old dog. Believe me, it won't be anytime soon. But it is at least something we are considering.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My tomatoes are ripe! We've had the little delicious bite sized ones for about a month, but we've been waiting and checking each day for the larger heirlooms to be ready. There have been a few, usually just one at a time. We used one for BLT's and a couple I froze because they were ready as we were getting ready to leave for vacation, but I think we're about to hit the motherload. I've got my canning jars prepped and I am ready to get my canning on. I hope there are more ready this weekend.

In other news I am going to have a large class this year. Tonight was meet the teacher open house. I think I will end up with around 23-24 students, which is several higher than last year. We'll see how that goes. Should be interesting. We have a new kindergarten teacher in our building and get this--she grew up in a town in Michigan where a lot of my family lives. Sara M.--if you are reading this, she remembers you and your sister from Brighton HS! Her name is Karen. (This is where you start humming 'it's a small world after all') Crazy.

We have reclaimed our back porch after it's use as command central all summer. It is nice to not have it full of power tools, random nails, and other garbage. I don't even care that there is no table and chairs. I am just happy that the siding is done and for the first time since we moved in, there is no painted plywood looking trashy back there.

I can definitely tell that I sat in a chair for most of the day today. All I want to do is get on the treadmill and run. So, I think I will. Brian is out tonight for a much needed "out of the house" adventure. The kids are in bed and I have the whole night before me. Well, it is 8:45, so at least the next two hours before me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

girls versus boys

This is how you know girls are different than boys:

Upon finding a Buzz Lightyear laserblaster, Emily proceeds to pick it up and use it to dry her hair. Not even shooting sounds.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Where did the weekend go? I was just patting myself on the back for my more frequent posting, when to my surprise, almost a week has passed! I am back to work testing incoming kindergartners and getting my room ready for the next school year. Elijah and Mary are all signed up for their respective schools and I've got all my people lined up to help drive everywhere said children need to go each day. Brian and I are mourning summer. Each year gets better. I do think it went by fast, but when I look back, we sure did a lot.

Elijah and Mary did art camp, we walked as a family a lot, we went to Tropicanoe Cove three times, camped at Prophetstown State Park, camped in Bloomington for the weekend, went to the Taste of Tippecanoe, spent the 4th of July with my family at Lake Michigan, enjoyed a week with Brian's aunt, uncle, and cousin in town, went to the Indianapolis Children's Museum, Art Museum, and had an overnight date adventure where we ate dinner at the long lost Italian Restaurant in Michigan where it all began for us 12 years ago (when we were in HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH GROUP!!), attended the Indiana Fiddlers' Gathering, Wolf Park twice, spent a week in a house on the beach with our wonderful family, spent two weeks in the car driving across the country and finally just spent two days with my aunt and cousins visiting. Oh yeah, and a couple of little house projects we like to call new windows and siding. There really wasn't a lot of lounging in our yard, playing in the pool, like years past but I would still say that our summer was a success.

I think it's therapeutic for me to do this each August when I start to get whiny about going back to work. It's good to remind myself that we had a good bit of fun and now this season is over. Time to get back to work. This year will bring new adventures as Mary goes to preschool and makes new friends. Emily will grow up quickly now that she gets to go to the big girl day care with her sister and will start Bible Study Fellowship in January with Mary and cousin Jonathan. Lots of things to look forward to. It's just not sleep.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

our bounty




Since we've been home I have been spending a lot of time weeding our overgrown mess called a garden. We've been harvesting and eating lots of things as well which is really satisfying. Brian's grandma loaned us her pressure cooker so I started canning beans for the first time--SO EXCITING!!

Monday, August 03, 2009

what i should be doing. er...?

Well folks the time has arrived once again. The time of year when I play tug of war with all the demands on my time. I can clean closets and get rid of clutter (whatever happened to our firm resolve about not allowing our kids to have tons of worthless toys?) or I can go to work and get my classroom ready for the next school year that starts in less than 2 weeks. I always hold out to the last possible moment I have to go in during the summer so I can enjoy the last weeks of summer. But today school called and basically said, "where are you?" I am not officially expected to be there until August 14th, but I was unofficially expected today. Instead my to-do list included canning green beans, LAUNDRY, and purging useless crap that we don't play with because we can't find it because we have too much stuff for our house. I love seeing uncluttered homes. Maybe I am in denial about the amount of stuff that goes with having three kids. It probably will just make me crazy trying to contain the stuff, but by golly I am going to give it the old college try. I see homes that are decorated and I think, what kind of decor do we have? Well, guitars, for certain. Rock and stick collections, several pairs of shoes, dirty dishes, lots of unopened mail...

We are getting rid of our enormous and outdated entertainment center because our tv has a demon and randomly goes on and off, like every five minutes. It's impossible to watch anything. So we really don't. We use our computer and watch hulu after the kids go to bed (our new favorite is Kitchen Nightmares), but the exciting news about getting rid of the very large piece of press board is that we are trying to make room for a piano. Not that we have one, but would like to acquire one. Maybe for my birthday? We'd be happy with a cheap/free one that needed to be tuned if anyone knows of something like that.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Elijah and Mary hike up the needles in Custer State Park
panning for gold


Emily doing her best imitation of the Ingalls girls at the homestead of Pa and Ma in DeSmet, Suth Dakota.



So, our trip to South Dakota was amazing. We are back and ready to get into action. We have plenty of unfinished things to do around here before our life kicks back into high gear. Brian is doing the back side of the house siding, we are all still unpacking and organizing stuff from being gone for almost 3 weeks, and of course there is all the laundry and house cleaning to do. Some of the highlights of our trip were definitely Mount Rushmore, seeing all the wildlife so up close and personal, all the natural splendor, and visiting the homestead site of Charles and Caroline Ingalls. We are already planning our trip for next summer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009









I feel like I am spending a lot of my summer catching up from the last thing or getting ready for the next. Here are some birthday pics of my (gulp) five year old Mary. She had a princess tea party with a few friends a couple weeks ago. It was the first friend party she's had and the first really planned party I've ever done. The girls wore fancy dresses and we made tea cups and crowns. We ate homemade princess cake. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

This Old House




It isn't finished yet, but it's looking so much better. Many thanks to Brian and his dad as well as Everette and Dallas. I am really happy with the color. We're in discussion about the door color (red or strip the color and go natural) as well as the shake shingles to go on the front porch.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July!



We're (Elijah, Emily and I) are off to the boat this morning--Mary has been up there since Thursday. Brian is staying behind to finish siding the house. Have a safe and happy 4th everyone! I'll be glad when our computer isn't broken anymore and we can upload NEW pictures.