Thursday, August 29, 2013

August Crazy

August has been a crazy month.  We've got so much going on.

Last night we took our kids to their school orientation to meet their teachers and bring all of their school supplies to their respective classrooms.  Desks were organized, lockers were set up (my oldest has now graduated to the upstairs of the school, complete with lockers!), and friends and teachers were greeted.  It was an exciting and hectic night.  The kids are now ready to go back to school.  I, on the other hand, am not ready for them to go.

Only one weekend left of summer and it will be jam packed with fun.  We still have our county fair to go to. An annual event that is talked about and anticipated year round.  And we have yet another wedding to go to on Sunday.  This will be the first wedding all of our children will be attending with us.  I am so excited for them.  Weddings are just so much fun and I remember having such a blast when I was a kid, dancing with the cousins, eating cake.  It will be a fun one.

The entire month of August seems to have been dedicated to weddings.  Each weekend there has either been a bridal shower or a wedding.  This past weekend Grace and I attended my cousin's (first cousin, once removed- thanks for the lesson, Hilary!) bridal shower.  It was a gorgeous shower in a garden on a beautiful day.
Grace lucked out again and this time all the little girls received pink parasols.
A picture of my cousin (middle) and her girls and grandgirls.  The beautiful bride is in the white dress.
And I even got a nice pic of my mom, Grace, and myself.
Oh yeah.  And I'm blond now.  Not sure about the blond, but I get bored, as you know.  Give it a little while and I will probably be a redhead next.  Or maybe black hair.  Dark brown?  Who knows.

Hopefully I will be able to fit in some good, solid relaxation into these next few days, because once school hits so does the serious busy-craziness.  Football, swimming, boy scouts, meetings, schedules, homework.  It is a good thing that my kids (and I) love their school so much, otherwise I'd probably force them to stay home with me for some homeschooling. Ha!

How are y'all handling the back to school craziness?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Weekend Wonderful

Summer is quickly approaching it's end.  In an effort to make the most of it the last few days have been jam packed with activities.  

On Grace's birthday the weather cooperated just enough to visit one of the kids' favorite places, Bookworm Gardens.  And this time Todd was able to join us.  It was a special treat.  
Joey wasn't in a "take my picture" kind of a mood but I snuck a few shots of him anyway. This picture he actually allowed me to take.  Joe was pretending he was pulling the wagon and Ben was the horse, in case you couldn't tell.

On Friday we drove up to Green Bay for the day.  Todd had to check out the new Cabelas (and of course the kids loved looking around too) and then we stopped off at Lambeau Field to check out a sportsmen show.  The kids are always thrilled at any opportunity to stop at the stadium so that was a bonus.

After that we checked BAY BEACH off of our "to do" list.  We have always meant to take the kids there but have never gone.  And, it was also a first for Todd and myself as well.  That is really unheard of in these parts as Bay Beach is legendary.  For those of you not in the know Bay Beach is an amusement park that has been around since long before my day.  In all that time it has maintained the same price of 25 cents to 50 cents for the rides.  We were so unaccustomed to such amazing prices that we really overbought on tickets.  We figured a family of six might need about $40 in tickets and that more than covered it.  They had swings, bumper cars, a scrambler, pony rides, a huge slide, a train, kiddie rides, a carosel, a tilt a whirl, you name it! They even a really nice size roller coaster! We rode every ride at least once and we went on the roller coaster five times in a row.  It was the boys' first time (Grace was just a bit too short for the roller coaster this year) on a roller coaster and they are still talking about it.  It was an awesome day!
After our fabulous time at Bay Beach we took the kids to dinner at our new favorite restaurant Kaleidoscope. The kids were literally crying with hunger and exhaustion by the time we got to the restaurant. Thankfully, a few kiddie cocktails, some amazing appetizers, and a delicious meal was enough to perk them up.  

Overall, I think it was one of the best days we've had all summer.

On Saturday Todd and I attended his cousin's wedding.  It took place on a big farm with a beautiful barn. The setting was absolutely gorgeous and so appropriate. You see, Todd's grandma and grandpa owned a huge farm. Todd's mother grew up on the farm with her 13 brothers and sisters and the cousins now operate some of the largest dairy farms in Calumet County. So a farm wedding. Charming. And very appropriate.
 The view inside the barn.

Shabby chic decor.  Mason jars, flags, and flowers. Each guest even got a mason jar mug for drinks and to take home.  Love that.
 Hubby and I in the barn.
(please notice my shoes)

This is Todd's grandma and grandpa's couch.  The bride insisted it be dragged out of her mother's basement and brought to the wedding so she could get pictures taken on it.  I think it was a genius idea. This couch is far older than I and I am told by the aunts and uncles that there were many "good times" on this couch down in grandma's basement.  I didn't ask for details.

There were animals wandering around (a farm, people) and this peacock decided to get in on this picture with us. How perfect is that?

I turned out to be a kind of unofficial photographer that night and I can't tell you how many aunts, uncles, and cousins wanted pictures on this couch.  I was happy to oblige but I made them take a couple of Todd and I as well.
 The beautiful bride and groom.
 A barn dance! AKA- the reception.

It was a gorgeous wedding and I had an absolute blast.  Todd's family is just so much fun and the bride and groom are so perfect together.  It was lovely.

Remember when I pointed out my shoes in the above picture?  I LOVE those shoes.  However, I found out that they are not the best shoes to wear for 12 hours in a row when there is lots of walking and dancing.  Toward the end of the night I was joking with people that my feet were bloody little stumps (and I am told that the bride even put a note in the invite not to wear high heels- again, the wedding is on a FARM- but I missed that note and I probably would have worn them anyway).  Indeed, the next day my feet really were bloody little stumps.  I had approximately 6 bandages on my toes just to make it to church.  *sigh*  The things we do for fashion.  FYI- I'd do it again too.  

There really was no time to rest my aching feet (which are still sore, swollen, and bloody today, by the way) as we had to head out to our nephew's (and Todd's godson) high school graduation party.  It was the perfect day for it. Beautiful sunny weather, lots of games, great food, and awesome people. 
It was a weekend full of wonderful, I tell you. I loved every minute of it.

I think I'm getting payback for it today, however.  The kids have been crazy out of control.  But, oh well. Weekends like these don't come around often and they serve as good reminders of how quickly time really does fly by.

The weather is finally supposed to be hot enough to go swimming this week so hopefully we can make it to the lake to make some more wonderful memories before our summer ends. Never can have enough wonderful summer memories.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Four Years

It's Grace's birthday today.  She is four.  FOUR. Wow.

I remember finding out (on March 16th, 2009 to be exact) that I was having a girl. While I was thrilled there was a very big part of me that didn't believe it. For a very long time (almost right up until her birth) I didn't buy any girlie outfits or girlie toys. It just didn't seem possible.

And then came the day of her birth. And from the minute the labor began I knew I was headed for new territory.  She was by far the most painful (which is saying something after births like  this) of my four labors. And she took the longest by half a day. And she kept on surprising us when she was born. Unlike my bald-headed, blond eye-browed, blue-eyed boys, she came out with a full head of dark hair, dark eyebrows, and hazel eyes. My girl. My Grace.
She kept on showing us her originality. She slept like a champ, rarely cried, and was incredibly mild mannered. Everyone in our house was immediately smitten.
As she grew we saw her vivacious side. Her spunky side.
Her silliness and humor.
Her energy and fun.
Her light.
Her intelligence.
Her gentleness and sweetness.
Her outdoorsey, nature loving side. The tomboy.
 Her independence.
 Her bravery.
Her resilience.
 We found out what it is like to live with a princess.
And a little daredevil.
An adventurer.
An animal lover.
A collector (of hearts).
You are loved.

In the spirit of the birthday posts I am conducting a little interview to capture where Grace is right now in her FOUR year old self.

Me:  Hi, honey! How are you today?
Grace: Good.

Me: Are you having a good day so far?
Grace: Yes! 

Me: I'm gonna ask you some questions about yourself, okay?
Grace: 'Kay.

Me: How old are you today?
Grace: I'm four! (holding up 4 fingers)

Me: What is your favorite color? 
Grace: Pink!  And red.  Wait!  Just pink.

Me: What do you want to be when you are older?
Grace: I want to be a princess. 

Me: What is your favorite animal?
Grace: A baby giraffe. And puppies. Like Molly!

Me: What is your favorite movie?
Grace: Tangled! And Brave! I like Brave. And Beauty and The Beast! And Cinderella. And Snow White. I like a lot of princesses.

Me: What is your favorite food?
Grace: Carrots, and umm... chicken! And ice cream. And peas. I like peas. They're really yummy.

Me: Where is your favorite place to visit?
Grace: Um... at the zoo.

Me: If you could go anywhere where would you go?
Grace: Chicago. 'Cuz I like Chicago a lot.  We go up to the top. And that was... and my cake is so beautiful mommy!  Thank you so much! I love you!

Me: What is your favorite toy?
Grace: Princesses.  And my puppy.  And Barbie Dolls.

Me: What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
Grace: Play outside.

Me: Are you excited for school?
Grace: Yes! (that is news to me)

Me: How much does mommy and daddy love you?
Grace: This much!
Me: And more!

My dearest Grace, I am so honored and so proud to be your mama. I love you more than you will ever know.  No matter how big you get you will always be my baby.  Thank you for being my daughter.

Happy Birthday, Grace!

May all your dreams come true!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Girlie Time

Sometimes I am still amazed that I have a little girl of my very own.  A little girl who wants to spend time with her mommy even if it means missing out on going up north.  A little girl who gets excited about things like bridal showers, and holding babies, and school shopping, and snuggling up to watch princess movies.  

That is exactly the kind of weekend Grace and I had.

The boys left to go up north on Friday morning.  Shortly after they left Grace and I did a little shopping together for all the bridal showers and weddings we are going to in the next month and we even got all of her school shopping done too.  

It was the warmest day we've had in a while (which is pretty sad because it was only about 82- come ON summer!) so we decided to go swimming. By the time we finally got to the swimming hole the temperature was 78, it was windy, and I was freezing in the water.  Gracie was a much tougher chic than I and swam away. 
Still, we only lasted about an hour before we decided to head back home for dinner.

Saturday we got gussied up, picked up my mom, and headed almost 2 hours away to the bridal shower for my cousin (Actually, she is my cousin's daughter- so what is that- my 2nd cousin? I don't know.  My cousin) It was a beautiful warm, sunny day.  Perfect for a bridal shower.  The food was delicious, the company was sublime, and the games were so fun.  It was a great day.
And bonus! Grace and I got to hold a precious little 5 week old baby (My other cousin's daughter's baby. So is that my 2nd cousin once removed?  HOW does that stuff work? Whatever.) for a good portion of the day. She was a precious little angel and Grace and I were both smitten.  I asked Grace what her favorite part of the day was.  Stuffing her face with candy?  Winning the game and getting a pretty little purse?  All the yummy food?  The dogs that she had fun playing with?  Or getting to hold the baby? She didn't even hesitate before she said, "holding the baby!"
Later that night I thanked Grace for coming with me to the party.  She said, "I love doing stuff with you. I'm always going to go places with you and do stuff with you 'cuz I love you.  I'll always be your buddy."

I hope so, my dear.  I really and truly hope so.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Going Broke

This month is gonna break me, people.  I'm seriously starting to get nervous.

This weekend I have a bridal shower to go to.  Grace's birthday is on Thursday.  Next weekend we have a wedding on Saturday and a graduation party (for Todd's nephew/godson) on Sunday.  The next weekend after that I have another bridal shower and the weekend after that another wedding.

Add in the fact that my van stopped working (that happened when we had the van all packed for our trip to Chicago and then we had to unpack everything and pack the truck because the van wouldn't work) so we have a nice bill for that on the way.  We also had all four kids go to the dentist and a nice $400 bill for that.  Let's not forget the expense of our fabulous Chicago vacation.  That has to be added in there.

Oh, and then there is the BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING FOR FOUR CHILDREN to do yet as well!


*deep breaths*

Must think happy thoughts...

Whew. Okay. I feel a little better.

Laughter really is the best medicine.

Except now I kinda want another dog.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson