Archive for July, 2009

last days of summer

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

The past week and weekend were super busy. We’ve been taking advantage of the warm, summer days with lots of activity. The girls and I met up with some other moms and kids for a day at the beach. Instead of the usual lake beach that we’ve been going to, we headed to Lake Michigan. Downtown Kenosha has a few beach access sites. The one we went to also had a playground that the kids just loved. They especially enjoyed the tire swing.

Despite numerous jaw drops and looks of disbelief we participated in the Pioneer Day camp out that our church ward organized. Many people were surprised that I would want to camp out while being 8 months pregnant. I gotta say though that I’m pretty much uncomfortable no matter where I sleep, so it doesn’t make a difference if it’s in a tent on an air mattress or on my bed at home. Mike was all gung ho about dutch oven cooking and prepared the main dish (chicken/rice casserole), breakfast (biscuits and gravy) and a peach/raspberry pie for the men’s pie contest the next day at the Pioneer Picnic. Another family also brought along their dutch ovens and made baked beans and peach dumplings. It was all very delicious. There were plenty of kids for the girls to play with. They frolicked well into the night and again the next morning. I was kind of lazy and only took one picture from our weekend of Mike and the girls taking down the tent. We did have a good time though.

To make our weekend even busier, we also attended the Roma Lodge Italian Festival with our neighbors. Apparently, the festival takes place in downtown Racine each year and has quite a turnout. It was good eats, but our attendance on the last day meant that many of the food booths were out of their food. We missed out on a lot of tasty chow. The girls weren’t complaining though because they had an unlimited wristband for riding the Titanic Slide. Annie was afraid at first to go down the 30 foot slide and even declared after a few rides down that that was her last ride. Eventually she got over her fears and both girls slid over and over and over for over an hour.

And lastly, Mike wanted me to capture a video of Annie hula hooping. She’s gotten really good.

fishing is in the genes

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Mike got another opportunity to take the girls fishing. They went down to the local lake (same place we go for the beach) and met up with another dad with his kids. The group had some good luck with catching little sunnies. Mike was impressed with the girls’ desire to put on their own worms and remove the fish from the hooks. I can’t say I’d be as enthused to do the same. So glad their dad loves to take them to do this kind of stuff.

Mimi was quite proud of her bitty catch. (Pictures taken with Mike’s new Palm Centro.)

Annie was just as giddy.

other jim, the senior

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Boy, my extended family is really growing up. I have yet another nephew who is about to move on to the real world, Jimmy. However, he no longer likes to referred to as Jimmy and prefers Jim, but his dad is Jim so his mom has aptly nicknamed him “Other Jim”.

While traveling in Minnesota last weekend I got the opportunity to do O.J.’s senior photo shoot. I also took pictures of his female friend (not sure if he calls her his girlfriend). Sara had some locations scouted out for us to try, and O.J. really showed enthusiasm during his shoot making for some great photos. This is the first senior boy that I’ve gotten to photograph, so it was a real treat for me, too. Without further ado, here is just a sample of the 40 pictures that were chosen for editing. If you’re interested in seeing the whole set, here is the link for the slideshow: Enjoy!

We started off with some nature shots at a spot that had some nice landscaping and a waterfall.

At our next spot we were going for a more “urban” look which seemed befitting for a guy. Sara chose the perfect place that had so much variety in architecture.

And the last location was back to nature.


Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Once again, behind my back, Sara was commissioned by my husband to make an accessory of which I would have disapproved. A neck scarf.

This would not be a trendy neck scarf that you may have noticed a man with metrosexual qualities wearing.

No. This would be more in line with that of a Ralph Furley neck scarf.

To make things even better, Mike decided to dye his mustache a darker brown. Oh, did I forget to mention that he is sporting a mustache these days? Indeed he is. Aren’t I a lucky girl?!?

Before his new look. The ‘stache is a bit rusty.

The makeover has done wonders for Mike’s image and self-esteem. I think he secretly wants to be Magnum P.I. Too bad he no longer has that full head of curly, brown hair.

Now I’ll leave you with a close-up of the dark mustache and the many expressions of Mike. Oh, I can’t thank my lovely sister-in-law enough.
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primates, birds, and fish, oh my

Monday, July 13th, 2009

The zoo pass got put to use another time last week. We decided on Wednesday to go with another family, and the day was fabulous (cool and not very sunny). Of course, my body gave out after 3 hours of walking. Fortunately, we saw the animals that we didn’t get to see on our first trip. Namely, the primates, birds, and fish/amphibians.

Feast your eyes on the primates.
The gorillas look so stoic. I always wonder if they are thinking, “You people have no idea how smart I really am.”

The chimpanzees were funny. They figured out how to climb onto a ledge up on the high ceilings and most were hanging out up there.

This chimp cracked me up because he looked like a little man, albeit hairy.

Love the butt shot. Reminds me of the Noah’s Arc baby quilt Anut Jenni made for Annie where she made sure to include the pink butts on the baboons.

There was a baby orangutan that was so adorable, but he was too squirrely to get a good shot of him. I was able to get his grouchy dad though.

Love the monkeys with prehensile tails. Mike always wanted one–a prehensile tail, that is.

One can never see enough primates grooming themselves or their companions.

The flamingoes were the kids’ favorite. They kept wanting to go back to look at them. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that they are pink (well, these had more of an orange tinge).

Annie kept reciting to everyone that the pengiuns’ water was 39 deg and that their air temperature was 34 deg.

Other various birds we saw. That last one was a real charmer with only a face a mother could love.

I didn’t take many fish/amphib pics because the area was purposely dim and the camera flash would just reflect off the glass. So I only have this slimy snake to share.

This past weekend Mike went to Louisiana for his annual fishing trip with Tiger. Apparently, Tiger has some connections with a fish touring company and hooked up Mike with an awesome adventure. They fished for 2 days and as a group caught about 60 fish the first day and 30 fish the second day. Mike came home with lots of fillet o’ fish. Wonder what we’ll be eating for the next few weeks?

These are the fish they were catching–speckled belly trout.

Tiger filleting a fish.

The boys also caught a few alligator gar. They have teeth like gators. Ish!

Mike witnessed this water spout which is the ocean’s version of a tornado. Mike says it wasn’t enough for him to cross off his wish of seeing an actual tornado in person though.

Since Mike went on his trip, I thought the girls and I should take a little trip, too. We headed up to MN on Thursday after dropping daddy off at the airport shuttle. The main reason for the trip was to take senior pictures of Other Jim, Sara’s eldest son. The girls were thrilled because they got to spend time with Grandma Minnesota and lots of cousins again. Annie spent the day with Grandma while I did the photo shoot, and Mimi came with me and hung out with Hayley and Matt. They were both delighted. Grandma took Annie to Crazy Days in Excelsior which is basically all the downtown shops having sidewalk sales. A knitted purse and journal was purchased for each girl, and they have been carrying them around ever since. Friday night we met up at the park across the street from the Evans’ home to have a potluck dinner. The kids hardly ate anything because they were too busy playing with each other at the playground. It was a great night and weekend.

I’ll post some of O.J.’s senior pictures when I’ve completed editing.

massacre and independence

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

As a favor to some friends I watched their 2 children, John and Sara. The girls were thrilled, of course, to have some guests to host. It was a nice day, so the kids set off to frolic outside. After about a half hour of playing the kids enthusiastically informed me that Lucy had terminated a chipmunk. I didn’t think much of it and told the kids to leave it alone figuring it was either one Lucy had caught or it had received its untimely death some other way. A few minutes later the kids screeched that another chipmunk had been executed, then a few seconds later another, and then another. At this point I decided I better check out what was going on. Sure enough there was a scattering of tiny carcasses in our backyard. However, upon further inspection I determined that the bodies were not of chipmunks but of baby bunnies. Their ears were still very short which must have made the kids think that they were chipmunks. Lucy was also found to be very busy digging at some bushes up against the back of our house. I got her to go inside, so I could investigate her digging spot. I found that there were still 2 more bunnies lodged between the house and electric meter. I managed to get them out and carried them by their scruffs to our little wooded area at the edge of our yard where Lucy is not allowed to go (where instead the coyotes are sure to find them). To say the least, the kids got a lesson in how nature sometimes really works. Sara was later reported as saying, “Where the bunnies were laying the grass changed color.” Those (living) bunnies sure were cute though.

Another wildlife adventure we got to experience this weekend was with a coyote. We were sitting on the patio in back when all of a sudden we heard a rustling in the woods and something hop out into the field. Mike knew right away that it was a coyote, and Lucy ran to the edge of our yard to let it know who was boss. What was freaky though is that the coyote just sat in the field staring Lucy down. It wasn’t until Mike came out with the pellet gun that it finally took off. A neighbor tells of a tale of another neighbor having its full-grown golden retriever dragged off and eaten by a pack of coyotes. No more midnight potty breaks for Lucy.

Probably too difficult to see, but here is a shot of the coyote working his way further back and onto the bike path.

I might as well post about our 4th of July festivities since the pictures are already uploaded. We were invited to the Morton’s home for dinner, and then we set off to watch the downtown Kenosha fireworks shoe. Dinner was a delicious assortment of Greek (tzatziki) and Chesapeake Bay (crab cakes) cuisine. We provided our favorite strawberry/greens from our garden/toasted almonds/vinaigrette salad and 4th of July cake.

The fireworks show was fabulous, and we had front row seats. There was a plastic fence keeping people from getting too close. Good thing it was there because we witnessed some fireworks sparks hitting the grass not more than 50 feet away in front of us.

We also brought over a watermelon. Annie insisted on holding it during the drive. Mimi can’t stand to not do everything Annie does and was quite upset during the drive.

All the kids with their glow sticks.

And the show begins. Just some random fireworks shots. ‘Twas fun playing with the fireworks feature on the point/shoot.

The kids watching. Notice Annie holding her hands over her ears.

And the finale. It turned out to just look like a big fireball in the pictures.

How was your 4th?

beach babies

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Last summer I signed us up for a membership at one of the local health clubs. It’s been a great thing to have as they offer tons of activities/classes (swimming and ice-skating) and an indoor pool/mini-water park for the kids as well as a fabulous exercise facility and drop-off childcare for while you work out.

Another feature of the membership is the lake on the property that has its own beach. I kept meaning to take the girls there last year, but it just never seemed to be warm enough, or we’d have other stuff going on. Finally, I took the girls over there on Saturday when the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. The girls loved every minute of their time there. In fact, they met up with another little girl their age and hung out with her and her sand toys for the rest of the time at the beach. I immediately decided we needed to get some of our own beach toys and spend lots more time there. Of course, this decision seemed to bring on chilly and/or rainy weather this whole week so far. Tomorrow is supposed to be back up in the 70’s and sunny, but we have to babysit some friends’ kids in the middle of the day. Maybe we can squeeze in a quick visit in the morning. Cross your fingers for us that the weather will cooperate tomorrow all day.