Monday, May 31, 2010

Bringing the Heat

Its finally summer around here and we're taking full advantage of it. Its been in the 80's for a couple weeks now and it feels glorious. Summer is way too short here in Iowa so I feel guilty whenever we're not outside enjoying it! We've had a really fun (and really busy) weekend. My baby sister, Claire, graduated high school yesterday (and yes, she had the loudest cheering section out of 400 students thanks to my hubby). After 28 years of child-rearing, my parents are officially empty-nesters! I think they're the ones who deserve the congrats! We had some extended family in town to celebrate and after the ceremony we went to Centro for dinner. After dinner the rest of our family headed home but the night was still young, so Seth and Bethany and Jon and I took advantage of our child-free evening and went back in for dessert (the guys were stuffed but somehow Bethany and I devoured two desserts between us. We'll use the "nursing-mother" excuse) and thoroughly enjoyed talking and laughing without any interruptions. You'll have to check here for cute pictures from yesterday since I didn't take any.

Today we spent all day at a pool in Ankeny, owned by a family in the Colyer's church who let us use it when they go to their lake house. We've spent many holidays here over the past couple of years and always have so much fun (as in, I get to actually lay out by the pool with a magazine during Dawson's nap while Bennett is fully entertained by a grandparent. Heaven!!) Today was no exception. The weather was perfect and Bennett spent 4 HOURS in the pool with Poppy. For a little while he had the undivided attention of both his grandpas and was having a ball. He could even touch the bottom in the shallow end on his tippy toes! I couldn't believe it. I can still picture him so clearly there two years ago when he was on the pool steps as a 1 year old and was just stepping out into the water, trusting his Nana to catch him. Dawson took on that role this year. He loved the water and would start crying every time Judie pulled him out.

The highlight of Grandma's day:
Of course Jon had to find something for Bennett to do a death-defying jump off of. The day just wouldn't be complete without a Parkour video of Bennett!
One tuckered out little boy:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We're back to real life after a wonderful long weekend in PA with Jon's extended family. It met all my expectations--the 2 days in the car there and back went relatively well. We barely heard a peep from Bennett, except the occasional, "Mom, my headphones fell off". He was in couch potato heaven watching endless movies. We stayed the night at Jon's Aunt and Uncle's in Ohio on the way there and back, and after 9 hours in the van, just envision releasing a pinball in a pinball machine. That'll give you an accurate picture of Bennett in their house. Let's just say the stress level was high in their tchotchke-laden home. But they were gracious and Uncle Brian won Bennett's heart over quickly by letting him "drive" his excavator.

We had lots of great family time with the Colyer side in PA, celebrating Pa-Pa's life. I was so honored to sing at the funeral, a song that meant a lot to him and Ma-Ma. I'm pretty sure there was more laughing than crying at the funeral- exactly the way he would have wanted it! We're really close to all of our family there and had so much fun hanging out together. We spent a day at Dutch Wonderland, a small amusement park that Jon's family went to when they were little. We had an absolute blast there, with all the kids. We couldn't have asked for a better day- sunshine, but not hot and it wasn't crowded at all so we didn't wait in any lines. Bennett definitely takes after his mom. His face would just light up and he'd start giggling every time a ride started. I was loving it as much as he was. He kept pointing at the biggest roller coaster and saying, "I want to ride that next!" Unfortunately he was a little too short for it. I didn't ride my first real ride until I was about 12 (The Zipper at a carnival. My friend begged and begged me to go on even though I was scared out of my mind. I relented and couldn't believe how much I loved it and had been missing out on all this time. I wanted to ride again and again but half way through my friend started screaming for them to stop the ride, she was so scared. I love the irony.)Anyway, Bennett is fearless and will undoubtedly be riding The Zipper and every other scary ride the minute he's tall enough and I will undoubtedly be riding with him. I'm thrilled I have an excuse to go to amusement parks again since Jon gets nauseous just watching someone spin around.
The cousins with their second cousins, Blake and Gavin:
On the log ride with Blake* and Gavin. Bennett tried to stand up the entire ride:

Amish lady looks a little upset she's not gettin' any lovin':

We spent a couple hours eating browsing through the City Market in downtown Lancaster with all the girls (+ Dawson):

We even got to have a Survivor finale party with our cousins- a crucial part of our weekend. And we had the most incredible breakfast on our way out of town with cousins at this unassuming local place called, Gus's...I'm salivating right now just thinking about it. I ordered an Athenian omelet (spinach, feta and onion) with a side of hash browns (these shouldn't even share a name with that oval patty you get from McDonald's. They were amazing) and sourdough toast. I ordered a sweet potato pancake and baked oatmeal for the boys so I could sample that too!
That place is reason enough to make a yearly trip out there. Forget family! (I'm so kidding...I know you all read this :)
*Please take just a few seconds to go here. You can find out why Blake is sportin' the Mr. Clean look and place your vote for his mom because she's the greatest!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

On the road again

Well, I shouldn't really say, "again", since we haven't actually been "on the road" since last summer. That's probably the longest hiatus my suitcase has taken since I've been married. We're headed to gorgeous Amish country- Pennsylvania, for my grandfather-in-law's funeral. Pa-Pa (pronounced Paw-Paw) finished his life here on earth to join his Savior in Heaven this past Monday. It was expected so there's some relief in situations like that, but sadness as well. He was one of the sweetest old men and I always got about a thousand kisses on the cheek when we were with him. I'll miss his gravelly voice, constant jokes, and lots of hugs. But I'm thrilled we get to go out for the funeral. We always have the best time with Jon's extended family out there. I just love all his cousins and Aunts and Uncles and its been a long time since we've seen them. I'm also so excited for our road trip tomorrow (call me crazy). I guess that has a lot to do with the fact that every year growing up, sometimes twice a year, we'd drive from where ever we were living at the time to Georgia or Florida to visit our family. (Yes, we drove from Canada to Georgia multiple times!). They weren't all fond memories in that van, but it's just a nostalgic part of my childhood. Especially getting to pick out a bunch of candy before the trip and waiting until dark when we couldn't read anymore and scooting up close to the front so we could listen to my dad tell stories "from his mouth".
Here are my favorite things about sitting in the car for hours on end:
  • I don't have to do a darn thing, except sit. I'm not one of those stir-crazy women who can't relax until every last dish is done (to my husband's dismay). I love to just sit--and I won't have the slightest guilt that I really should be doing those dishes, or laundry, or cleaning the bathroom...
  • And during all that sitting, I get to read as much as my heart desires! My favorite thing to do in the world. It would be perfection if I were sitting on a boat in some body of water somewhere rather than in a van on a highway, but hey, I'll take it.
  • I can actually take a nap!
  • My boys will be contained. I won't have to check on them every 3 minutes (or less, depending on the noise, or lack thereof).
  • My boys will be content (I'm really crossing my fingers on this one!). Bennett gets to watch as many movies as he wants-- his dream come true. And Dawson's still young enough to be lulled to la la land in his car seat.
  • The ultimate excuse not to cook. I'm pretty good about getting around that one at home anyway, but guilt involved this time!

We'll see if I'm still this optimistic after two full days in our van! Ok...enough with the procrastinating. I need to go finish packing!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bringing a little country to the suburbs

Look what I missed while I was at work today!

These are our neighbors, Andy and Julia. I think their uncle found the pig on the side of the road somewhere and the kids were having a blast playing with it before it finds a new home at a farm. So cute! She looks like a little Charlotte :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

another 'do

I got to do Caitlin's hair for her prom yesterday. She and her family are dear friends of ours from church. This girl has some hair. It only took me 3 hours! Her mom came with her to entertain Bennett while I worked, so she and Bennett spent most of the time camping out in his tent (a blanket over his little table) and roasting veggie straws on toothpicks over an imaginary fire. He had a blast. Thanks, Deb!

My sister, Claire, and Caitlin both graduate high school this year so I won't have anyone's hair to do now. That's kind of weird to think about since I've been doing one of my sisters' hair for school dances for the last 10 years or so. Guess I'll have to wait for Claire's wedding or for my nieces to grow up. Not sure which will happen first...