Sunday, July 26, 2015

My Town.

There used to be a storefront at the mall that was remodeled into a make-believe kid-sized village.  The inner walls were lined with cubicles that were designated as the police station (complete with jail), the schoolroom, the ice cream shop, the dress-up parlor, the train station (with brio train sets), and many more.  There was an indoor "road" where kids could ride the little tricycles and pretend cars, and a grouping of tables in the center to have lunch, or for parents to chat.

We only went a few times before it closed its doors, but here are a few pictures:

Noelle liked to hang out in the library.

Natalie in the dress-up room.

This picture is from the schoolroom.  Theresa had been trying to play a school game where she was the teacher, Mrs. Poop-poop-a-loop.  The other kids weren't interested in playing just then, which hurt her feelings.  I found this on the chalkboard shortly after, which broke my heart, too.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Regina and I planted sunflowers in May and she's so happy that they've gotten so tall... she wanted  to show everyone how big they are.

I got it into my head that it might be a good opportunity for a group photo.

Alright, everybody!  Out on the high porch!

If I had everybody home, they would stretch all the way across the porch.  THAT would be cool!  Hear that, kids?  Next time we're all home, we're doing it.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Sarah had Fluffy Blanket, but there hasn't been another kid with a favorite blanket since then.  

Until Phil.

Blankie has a backstory.  

In 2009,  Scott had a car accident in which the car was seriously injured and thankfully, he was not.  He still won a trip to the hospital in an ambulance, and the ambulance crew had to cut his jeans off him, so he arrived at the hospital (and came home) covered by a loosely-woven hospital blanket stained with his own blood.

Flash-forward to 2013 - Philip is born in August, and during a shopping trip in those early months, in the baby department at Target, I saw a gauze baby blanket for upwards of $20.  $20 FOR GAUZE!!!  It doesn't even keep a baby warm, but it's supposed to reduce the risk of suffocation.

I remembered that blood-stained blanket that I'd been hanging onto, and thought I could do something with it.  I cut out the stains to make it into a large rectangle, and sewed a blue satin  border around the edge with pastel rainbow thread.

This was taken December 2013, when he was 3 months old.

I don't remember exactly how old he was when we realized that he was grabbing for it eagerly at  naptime or bedtime, but it was definitely a faithful companion by the time he was crawling.  It was when he started to walk, however, that Blankie became a liability.  He tried to toddle around with Blankie dragging under his feet, tripping him up. 

By that time, he had become so attached to it that I was fearful we'd lose it somewhere and he'd be inconsolable.  It was then that I sub-divided Blankie into one large, one medium, and three "Traveling Buddies."

Philip, 11 months, and a Traveling Buddy on the return trip from Illinois last July.

Sometimes we can find all five, sometimes only two or three.  One Traveling Buddy is permanently stationed in his car seat, and he knows that "Big Blankie" lives in the "kib." (crib)  The rest are dragged (and lost) everywhere on a daily basis.  He even came proudly into the kitchen today, pushing a doll stroller with Blankie in the seat, exclaiming, "Blankie - roller!"

July 2015, 23 months old

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beach Time.

For some reason, we haven't been to the lakes around here for at least 10 years, probably 15.  I can't even remember the last time, but I remember Brian being a baby, so that puts us over 15 years.  Why did we stop going?  I can't remember that, either.

We told the kids we were going to a place with a lake and a beach.  Like the ocean?  No, not that big.  Are there waves?  No.  The sand is pebbly, not grainy.  There are woods, no boardwalk.  Oh, nevermind, just wait and see.  Will we like it?  I hope so...

They liked it.

It was a GREAT day.  Philip was able to toddle in and out of the water at will.  The beach area wasn't too wide so we could see from end to end, and see the kids at all times.  The older kids could swim out to the ropes ,but even there it was only 5 feet deep.  The sandy beach kept them occupied for hours.  There was a shower house, and the water was WARM!  I even got some quiet time to read.  They all thought it was amazing and as I was typing these words and choosing pictures, they drifted through the room and asked when we can go to that place again!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bucket List.

At the end of June, the girls and I put together a Summer Bucket List, trying to find a bunch of free or low-cost activities that would make for a memorable summer.  Some of the activities we placed on our list are:

- attend the free kids' shows at the mall
- participate in the summer program at the library
- finally use the free passes to Knoebel's pool we won at a Chinese auction three years ago
attend a minor league baseball game (the kids get free tickets through their kids club)
- sew something with Noelle
- make a batch of homemade soap
- go mini-golfing
- visit each of the closest state parks
- see a drive-in movie

I took a blotter calendar and covered my bedroom door with our bucket list and activities.  Little did I know that by putting this list on my bedroom door. Andy would take it as a personal challenge to check off as many of the boxes as possible.

I put "fix the leaky faucet" on there.  Remember, I put the list on the door at the end of June.  By July 6, after more than a year of dripping, he replaced the kitchen faucet. :)  The baseball game was July 19, and it was a great day, but we didn't think to take a camera along.  We've had quite a run of rainy days so far, but he kept an eye on the forecast, took a vacation day, and on the 17th we hit the beach at a state park.  To be continued. . .

Monday, July 20, 2015

Like Father, Like Son.

Sunday morning, Philip decided to get up and play at 3:00 a.m., so when the sun finally caught up with him, none of us were anywhere near ready to face the day.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Picture A Day: Twin Trouble

"We're going down the stairs," they said.  
"Pray for us!" they said.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Strollin' with Phil.

It's about time to update the photo on the wall, and get a nice shot for his birthday.  He's hard to pin down for a good picture.  This was my try for today.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Easy as 1-2-3. Not.

 Natalie's hair has been a nightmare of tangles lately.  We tried to schedule an appointment, but our stylist was away on vacation.  SOMETHING came over me today and I got the wacked-out idea that I could watch a YouTube video and do it myself.  I've been cutting the boys' and Andy's hair for years, but I was always afraid to try the girls.

Anyway, after fighting and crying our way through two more days of tangled webs, I went for it.  The video said to wash, comb out, and put the hair into a low ponytail with two elastics.  Then chop off below the lower elastic.

Easier said than done.

Chop is right.

What have you done to me?!?

Then part in the middle, comb forward, and even out on a diagonal from back to front.

It wasn't quite as simple as she made it look on YouTube, and the finished product isn't as angled as I would have liked.  It's probably going to need a lot of touch-up tomorrow, but she likes it.

Scootin' Along.

 Favorite thing to do at Mam & Pap's house, aside from watching cable cartoons and stuffing their faces with snacks, is to get the bikes and scooters out and tear up the sidewalk.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Look what some so-and-so did to my baby pumpkins!

A Picture A Day: Lemonade Stand

Looking for a way to earn some cash, the girls set up a lemonade stand.  We also picked our own strawberries a few times last month, so we also sold chocolate covered strawberries.

The girls helped me dip about 10 dozen strawberries.  They turned out beautiful.  And delicious!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Picture A Day: Cherry Tomato

Our garden is doing great.  Regina harvested her first tomato a few days ago.

We picked our first cukes and broccoli this week, and isn't this the cutest baby eggplant you ever saw?  It's the only baby eggplant I've ever seen!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Clare's 14th.

Last picture as a 13-year-old

14 balloons for her 14th birthday.

She had a Spongebob cake for her 4th birthday, and told me she wanted another one!