Wednesday, June 30, 2010

it was bound to happen

I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep up with my summer vacation series with four days of wedding festivities. Unfortunately we are four days post wedding stuff and I'm even more behind. Going to try to get caught up a little bit by combining a few days....

Saturday we had a fish fry at the Inlaws. It was hard to talk to people at the reception (rockin' DJ in combination with not wearing my glasses and not being able to see people unless they walked right in front of me) so the visiting at the fish fry was a wonderfully relaxing time visiting with local friends and family and family from Alaska, Utah, D.C., and Denver who made the trip to be here for the wedding.

It was incredibly HOT and HUMID but we still had fun and ate our fill of sunfish, halibut, yummy fresh picked strawberries and bars galore. We drove home in a terrible rain storm (2.7 inches fell in two hours) and thanks to quick thinking earlier the kids were sound asleep through the whole thing. We usually bring jammies for them but after berry picking and a walk to the creek the kids were filthy. I decided to pop them in the tub at Grandma and Grandpa's house instead of waiting until we got home.

Sunday we tried to sell a crib on Craigslist, but forgot part of it when we met the lady. It started a chain of events that would get fixed for 24hours. What a pain! Eventually we got it all worked out and thankfully I didn't have to miss out on Girl's Night. Those precious hours spent with girlfriends are so special!!! We ate outside at Arbor Lakes and talked and ate for hours. God has blessed me these ladies and I am so so so grateful!!

Tuesday was Library program day which was good because I have lots of work to catch up on. It's hard to get back into the swing of things again but it was refreshing to get a break from park life. I couldn't believe how much my garden had grown in the few days I hadn't had time to monitor it.

Now it's back to work again. Weddings to proof, photo shoots to schedule, books to design, park programs to write, park programs to lead.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The fanciest day of our summer vacation

Hope you aren't sick of wedding pictures yet! I wanted to share this particular one from my cell phone taken at the tail end of the reception on Friday night. It's Mommy and Me Monday after all....

Julia slept for the last 2 hours of the reception in the corner BEHIND where the speakers were blaring in hopes that she wouldn't be bothered by the noise. It worked because she didn't wake up when I picked her up and moved her to the car. When we realized that we couldn't buckle her seat belt with her dress on we had to wake her and it went down hill from there. Thankfully we live three miles from the reception location and were home in no time.

I was sad to take off the beautiful bridesmaid dress that Sharon picked out and even sadder to take Julia out of hers. We NEVER get that dressed up and it was fun to be girly girls for the day. I even had fingernail polish on albeit, clear. Baby steps people!

I wrote this post before I realized that the theme this week is suppose to be promoting sun protection - which we do - in this case by staying inside :) If you are looking for a great sunbonnet for your little one - I highly recommend the Urban Baby Bonnet that Julia is wearing in this post (with the brim folded back)

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

location, location, location

We had planned to take some photos at our park but it was HUMID and in the upper 80's. Instead we stayed at the church and took advantage of the beautiful architecture and landscaping. If only all my 'back up' photo locations were this stunning!

On the other side of the lens

Many many thanks to Hilary for being on the other side of the lens from me much of the time! She did a fantastic job and it is always a joy to work with her!

Speaking of joy... You know how some weddings just have an abundance of joy? This was one of them. Sharon and Jamey's day was picture perfect and I'm not just saying that because I was one of the photographers.

Sharon & Jamey - Hope you guys have a wonderful time in Jamaica! I'll be posting some of the photographs I took in my next post. Love you guys!!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who knew vegetables could be cute?

And for those of you who are following along on our straw bale gardening adventure, here are some overall shots that I try to take once a week. Click here to compare to earlier photos.

***sorry there won't be an Alphabitty Moments post this week - the wedding is upon us and I have been caught up in preparations and visiting with family. See you all in a few days with wedding photos!***

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


full of what you ask?

morning devotional.scrambled order pic up.Target.tuxedo pick up.missing tie resolving.meeting with friend about a shopping.dropping off photo order.picking up pie baking.making ice cream.baking this. washing off outside tables.washing bird poop off our steps for the 1ooth time.wrapping up the hose.washing veggies.watching it rain.welcoming family from Alaska.visiting.grilling.eating.morevisiting.testing 'driving' Julia's hair do for the wedding.walking to the lake.more eating.T-ball game.lollipop licking.3 trips to the office.more visiting.sword talk.practicing walking down the up.brushing teeth.snuggling.sleeping within 5 minutes.another trip to the office.blogging.watching tv.praying for good weather for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

I'd say that was full enough wouldn't you?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

By the numbers

33 - the number of hours this post will cover
2.5 - the number of hours my kids spent at VBS yesterday
4 - the number of chicken nuggets my kids each ate when they got home
0 - the number of naps my kids have taken
3 - the number of raspberries that were ripe yesterday
3 - the number of trips PapaBear made to the office yesterday afternoon
2 - the number of kids who played in the sprinkler yesterday
1 - the number of hours we were without water in the park yesterday
6:30 - the numbers on the clock when Julia fell asleep on the couch last night
17 - the number of things on my list for bringing to the wedding on Friday
14 - the number of things on my grocery list for tomorrow
25 - the number of dollars I sold our sandbox for
15 - the number of dollars I originally paid for it
12 the time on the clock we scheduled Sam's hair cut for tomorrow
6 - the number of errands we are going to run while the kids are in VBS tomorrow
8:30 - the numbers on the clock when my BIL and SIL arrive from Alaska this evening
100,000,000,000 - the number of freckles Julia says I have
1,000 - the number of freckles Julia says she has
38 - the number of freckles Julia has across her nose
4 - the number of books we read on the porch during the rainstorm yesterday morning
3 - the number of hours we spent at the beach today
4 - the number of people in our family who are a little pink as a result
5 - the number of summer squash that are growing in our garden
1 - the number of pea plants that are sprouting
91 -the temperature the van's thermometer read tonight
1 - the number of black socks I can find for Sam to wear with his tux
2 - the number of socks I'll have to buy tomorrow
3 - the number of flower girl dresses hanging in my dining room (can never be too prepared!)
4 - the number of days until we officially welcome Jamey into our family

Monday, June 21, 2010

Why hello summer

it's nice to see you again!

Thanks for warming our backs, highlighting our hair, providing endless hour in swim
suits and wildlife around every corner...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our weekend in a nutshell

Saturday we did a lot of this....

Sunday we did a lot of this (thanks Mom for the blocks!)

and we saw lots of these because

once you let your butterflies (thanks Rena!) go they tend to hang around for a few days.

Our Father's Day was pretty low key - kabobs, biscuits, and seasoned fries for dinner and lots and lots of outside time. We're selling our sandbox so the kids had one last hurrah in Tuggy2 by turning it into a swimming pool. While Daddy was at the office tonight we went around the park and collected the first of the black raspberries so we could surprise him with a tasty ice cream treat for dessert.

For more "how I spent my summer vacation" posts click here.

****Also wanted to say congrats to Jessica - her comment was chosen by as the winner of the Piece of Pizza Fractions set. I'll be in touch soon with how to redeem your prize!******

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Laughing at the Library

We walked into our local library just in time for Bill the Juggler's opening tricks. The kids sat down, Bill asked for a volunteer, both my kids raised their hands. Julia didn't have a clue why her hand was in the air. Then when Bill chose her, she got really really shy and that was the end of her volunteering. Oh well. Next time.

Once they settled in the kids laughed non-stop. See them there in the middle in the pink and blue? I loved hearing their giggles over the rest of the kids. Pure Joy.

After the program we came home to finish picking up the house before Daddy returned from his camping trip. It didn't take long with my little helpers by my side. Then we went out to play in the kiddie pool and read stories in the hammocks. I thought Julia was going to fall asleep in hers. We discovered that there's more room in Sam's hammock for all three of us and spent the next hour reading. Daddy arrived home to whoops and hollers (and some barking). We were so happy to see him!!!! Unfortunately it was off to the campground office for me a few minutes later but after work we were able to enjoy some time out on our porch - filling each other in on what we'd been up to all week. Good thing I've been writing every day so I could remember!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Weeping Willows

They may be called weeping willows but I assure you there was no weeping going on under our willows yesterday. Quite the contrary....swinging from the branches produced HUGE grins

and perfect light gave me a reason to smile as well.

Maybe my favorite picture of Julia ever?

The wind blew in a pretty bad storm to the area but thankfully we only had some rain and wind. The upside was that I cleaned up the garage enough so we could get the vehicles parked inside in case of hail.

Yesterday was our last day home sans PapaBear. He's been up north with high school friends all week so I've been on my own. Parenting on my own was the easy part. I didn't plan to make the routine changes but I'm so glad I did - we skipped naps and played hard all day, stayed up almost 2 hours later than usual and then in the morning they slept in like they've never done before. Most mornings I didn't get out of bed until 9! We even adjusted our meal times since breakfast was two hours later than usual. Lunch became 2pm and dinner 6pm.

I missed PapaBear terribly and am so glad he's HOME now. Speaking of which, the office is closing now so I'm headed home to see my man.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

to a *T*

Sam has been playing T ball for a few weeks now. First three practices and then last night was his second game. The weather has been PERFECT every time (unlike this very moment with heavy downpour and high winds). Did I mention we only came to the office with umbrellas? They aren't going to do us much good with sideways rain. Anyway...back to yesterday's how we spent our summer vacation post....we spent the early afternoon at the beach until I couldn't stand the misbehaving kid that wouldn't leave Sam and Julia alone. I know I shouldn't judge, but his mother had no clue how to handle her child. None. I know kids have bad days, I KNOW BECAUSE MINE HAVE BAD DAYS TOO. But. This kid was ripping toys out of other children's hands, throwing sand at people, and splashing little kids. All of those things happened after she threatened to make him leave 7 different times. Ugh...

It was much safer and calmer at home on the slip-n-slide. Julia has more fun puttering in the garage and in the flower beds than scratching herself up on the slip-n-slide so for once they aren't fighting about something. Going to VBS next week will be good or them. They haven't been apart in a week. We're on a modified schedule through tomorrow that doesn't include rest time (if it's nice outside) so they are together every.waking.moment.

After a quick dinner we headed to Sam's game. Conor is old and grumpy and absolutely HATES it when we leave the house without him. We have to let him out and then coax him back to his cord so I can make him come in. This time he pulled his collar off so I said forget it and let him jump in the van. Other than a Christmas here and there, he never gets out so it was fine that he came with. I like the challenge of getting Sam and his gear, a 3 year old, a purse, a camera, a chair, and a hyper dog to a T ball game in one piece. Yeah right. Thankfully my SIL joined us so I had an extra pair of hands.

Sam played first base for the first time so I took lots of video to show Daddy. He hit the ball on the first try and ran as fast as he could while dodging the other team who swarmed to every ball that was hit. Made me thankful that Sam's coach has the kids spread out more and they (for the most part) stick to their own area.

I had 'one of those kids' after the game when Julia flipped out about not getting fruit snacks like Sam did. She wailed all the way through the grocery store where Sam decided to pick out his check mark reward. We stopped at the library to drop off coloring entries and to request a few books for me. I've read most of the historical christian romances that I know of in our library so the librarian helped me find some new authors. My criteria are Bethany House Publishers and historical christian romance series. Know of any good authors that fit that bill let me know! I'm trying a new author, Stephanie Grace Whitson right now.

Across from the library a baseball game was being played so we grabbed the dog and wandered over. It isn't very often that we get to do stuff late at night like that but the weather was so nice and I've been letting the kids stay up later this week.

Yet another sign of summer!

Alphabitty Moments - The letter E

Welcome to Alphabitty Moments where we share the little things of childhood one letter at a time! Click on the tab above for more Alphabitty Moments posts and the instructions for how to create your own Alphabitty Moments book. Picaboo wasn't cooperating for me so I'm just going to keep it simple this week and post the picture I will be adding to Sam's book.

E is for Easter Bunny.


Because look at Sammy. He looks so grown up in this picture that I fear our days of visiting the Easter Bunny are numbered. We've come a long way from this memorable experience. He got the hang of it by last year but didn't look nearly as grown up as he does this year. Some day we'll walk past that silly bunny and remember fondly the times we took little ones to the mall for the traditional Easter Bunny Pics.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The best of both worlds

Inside - New markers for drawing dresses and scorpions

Outside - a new discovery and a new spot for a picnic lunch

Afternoon rainstorms and evening puppy massages.

Inside or out, rain or sun...we had the best of both worlds yesterday. We also ate our very first raspberry from our bush behind the house, read bedtime stories in the hammock, relocated a couple of bird's nest that had been disturbed, and ate ice cream for the third day in a row. I could get used to this!

Wordless Wednesday - Because they leave me speechless

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Simply Tuesday

FOR TODAY (thanks to the Simple Woman's Daybook)
Outside my window...THE SUN IS SHINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (can you tell it's been raining for days?)
I am thinking...about my jobs.
I am thankful kids. They have been the bright spot this past week.
From the cream cones.
I am wearing...capris, a red tank top, and a baseball hat I got on a high school band trip to Toronto.
I am creating...a new (temporary) bedtime routine this week.
I am going...other than a trip to the grocery store, the library, and to T-Ball we will have spent the week at home
I am reading...books about scorpions to Sam and about Dogs to Julia
I am hoping...that the weather is good next week for my SIL wedding and for get-togethers with family from all over the country.
I am hearing...the dishwasher, the TV (Max and Ruby video), and the kids giggling
Around the house...our butterflies are starting to come out of their 'raccoons'. The first one made quite an impression by bleeding all over the place. Didn't expect that!
One of my favorite plants - the flower beds and our straw bale garden. It is so relaxing and satisfying to tend to them.
A few plans for the rest of the week: T-ball.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
Even stranger than the blood pool in our butterfly
home was the weather today - The sun was shining
AND it was raining.
Here's the proof - shadow of Julia's umbrella
AND raindrops behind her. Crazy!

i like mondays

They are the quietest day in the park.
They give me five whole days to get some work done before the weekend.
Since it's summer they mean we don't have to rush off to school.
Sam will be in school five days a week in the Fall so it's important to me that we make the most of our days together this summer.

What does 'making the most of summer' mean?


Freedom to stay in PJ's all day if we want
Freedom to run errands all day long
Freedom to go to playgroup or to stay home if we aren't up for the drive
Freedom to have pancakes for lunch and popcorn for dinner
Freedom to paint for hours
Freedom to watch tv for hours
Freedom to eat ice cream every day if we want
Freedom to take 2 baths a day
Freedom to stay outside even after the rain starts to fall, but I'm getting ahead of myself on that'll have to wait for Tuesday's installment of how I spent my summer vacation for that one!

What does making the most of summer vacation mean to you?

Monday, June 14, 2010

birds of a feather

More rain? Maybe.....I can't remember if it did in fact rain yesterday. The sun sure didn't bother to show it's face - that I know for sure. Our big outing for yesterday was a trip to the grocery store for cinnamon rolls. We live large don't we? We also picked up some eggs so we could have pancakes this week. Again, livin' large here in BearCountry!

Julia was out of sorts all afternoon so it was a good thing she fell asleep at rest time. I don't remember the last time she took a nap. It's been a few weeks at least. PapaBear returned from a weekend up North with his dad and future brother-in-law so we spent the rest of the afternoon/evening getting things unpacked.

The kids stayed in bed at bedtime for a change (good ol' bribe of ice cream after dinner tonight did the trick). It was ironic then when I called for them to come out of their rooms so they could see what I found right outside our bathroom window. I know it's hard to tell from the picture but those are little birds perched on our grape vines. There were FIVE of them when I first pulled the curtain back. We had a great time whispering and carefully pointing when a new bird would land right in front of us. It was a bird's eye view well worth getting the kids out of bed for!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Just another Saturday in BearCountry

The kids were on their best behavior yesterday. (except for bedtime when they both continue to come downstairs repeatedly) Long before the bedtime battle we played around on the computer using a website called It's a great puzzle site that the kids LOVE. They don't use a computer to do anything besides watch a movie occasionally so this was a big treat for them. Julia had her first experience using the mouse. She got the hang of it but quickly handed over the clicking and dragging duties to me. Instead she sat on my lap and pointed to where each piece should go. Sam could do the puzzles by himself thanks to a few computer sessions at school and having a couple of years on his sister. I could easily let them spend hours on this site. You can practically see the wheels turning in their little heads as they solve the puzzles.

The rain was pretty constant yesterday but that didn't stop us from taking an evening walk through the campground. It has been so dark and dreary here. I can't believe I'm saying this but I miss the heat!

We're 18 days into my little project and I'm happy to report that I haven't missed a day yet. To be honest at least half of those days it hasn't been convenient to sit down and write about what we did the day before but that's exactly why I need to do it. If I don't do it every day, it becomes even more inconvenient to sit down the next time and try to remember a whole mess of days. I don't want to forget the times that Julia and I play beauty shop, the snuggles I share with Sam when we have a sleepover, and the other simple pleasures that make up summer vacation.

What's a simple pleasure you've been enjoying with your kids during vacation?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fun Fractions (a giveaway)

In the late afternoon our dining room table provides the best spot for photographing items for my blog. It's not the best of the dining tables out there but since it's covered with junk so often, people can't usually see the fake wood surface. Today I took advantage of some unclaimed space and snapped some pictures of something fun I get to give away! Yeah!

A while back I had the opportunity to chose something from the CSN website to review. I decided that the Piece of Pizza Fractions was the perfect item for our family for a few reasons.

1) It's food. My kids love to play with their pretend food and fight over the one toy pizza we have.

2) There were three pizzas (remember that fighting???)

3) It's educational. Sam likes math and is always asking questions about it so being able to learn fractions in this way makes perfect sense!

When they opened the box they gasped. Yes, gasped. I told you it was a perfect fit! Within seconds they went into restaurant mode and were serving up slices of our favorite pizza. They aren't in the picture but there is also a delivery box, a pizza server, and a pizza cutter that comes with the set.
I was most impressed with the heaviness of the product. There will be NO bending of these pizza slices! The only disappointing thing (to me, not to the kids) was the size of the pizzas. I would have liked them to be a little bigger so the slices themselves could have been bigger (less chance of losing them). In reality any bigger and they wouldn't fit in the play kitchen we have so overall this product gets an "A" from this family of pizza lovers!

And now for the fun part...if you would like to win one of these for your family this is your chance!

Leave a separate comment for each entry up until 9pm next Saturday, June 19th, and I will announce the winner the next day.

How to earn an entry:

1) become a follower of my blog
2) follow me on twitter
3) tweet about the giveaway
4) blog about the contest being sure to link to this post
5) leave a comment telling me how you make math fun at your house

Disclaimer: This product was given to me by CSN Stores for me to review. The prize will be paid for and sent directly to the winner by the fine folks at CSN Stores.

putting the pieces together

Julia spent her first night in her big girl bed last night. PapaBear took the crib down before I got home and I put the new one together before rest time. Oh my was that harder than I thought it would be emotionally!

She was so excited about her new quilt that I think the bed itself was secondary. I picked up this Pottery Barn Kids quilt with matching pillow shams for $15 at a garage sale in April. Little did I know how much she would love gardening and bugs! I'm excited to find some coordinating curtains, a headboard, some artwork, and to hang the purple canopy netting I bought last year. Somehow her room is the one that is always the most put together of all our rooms.

We've had cribs in our house for almost 6 years. It's going to be strange to be without them from now on.

My big girl looks so little in that big bed! While I mourn the end of an era I am filled up by the joy from watching my kids develop right before my eyes.

Julia took an interest in puzzles this week and surpised us all by putting four of them together all by herself.

I loved puzzles as a kid and even though we don't have a lot of time for them right now, PapaBear and I are working on a thousand piece photomosaic puzzle.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Garden Goodies Already!

Having one year of straw bale gardening under our belts is nice. I have something to compare to. Since I planted a week later than last year these photos from June 19th, 2009 are a good comparison point.

We didn't get any radishes last year so already we're off to a better start. We have way more bean plants this year and we're trying peas for the first time. They are climbing so high that they are well on their way to the 5th wire up!

I've added another dose of bone meal to stave off blossom end rot and some manure to help boost the squash plants that, admittedly, shouldn't be so close together.

The peppers are blooming and I can't keep track of how many of our 12 tomato plants are sprouting new tomatoes. That a problem I can live with!

Lots of rainy nights followed by sunny days makes for one happy garden and gardener!

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