Friday, July 29, 2011

Our kitchen is nearly complete!  It has been a really fun process.  I'm almost sad it's over.   It was so much easier than I thought.  It helped that we went on a lot of vacations during the remodel and that we have my parents in town who sent me home with more meals than I can count.   This was our first week working in our kitchen and boy did I cook up a storm.  Here I'm making Fried Zucchini with a Tomato Coulis.  Yum!

Here's what's left to do:
-Second round of lighting installed today.  My least expensive fixtures turned out great.  My more expensive ones are wrong in color.  Those will need to come down and get repainted.  Go figure.
-Second new refrigerator to arrive on Monday, the first one was a lemon.  Still have old fridge in dining room.
-Pulls for drawers still on backorder, opening drawers right now is like pulling teeth.  Knobs are a little too big.   Looking for something else.  Maybe glass...
-Mudroom bench and shelf to be built.  (by George)
-Crown Moulding
-Need to find four bar stools, I'm completely stuck on this one!
-Final paint touch up

This may sound like a lot but our kitchen was ripped down to the studs.  New electrical, new drywall, even new ceilings.  New floors, new door openings, new window.  We've come along way.  I really love it.  I can't wait to show you pictures!!!
These girls (the little ones) all shared the first year of their lives together in the Jiang Cheng Orphanage.  This isn't the entire group but it was great that at least this many of us got together.  We all met in Branson, MO.  One of the families has timeshares there so we all got big beautiful condos to stay in and being in Branson, there was plenty to do!  We cut the 10 hour drive by stopping in St. Louis to pick up Nani to bring her with us! 
Magnolia didn't remember the girls especially since we missed last years reunion but she
 warmed up pretty quickly.  Here they are sharing their pancake breakfast together.  By the last night at the pizza party they were all like long lost friends. Here's Magnolia with Anna Grace (left) and her big sister Jenny (right).
 Maya (left) with Elise's big sister Natalie.
  We went to see the Chinese Acrobats which was absolutely fabulous.  Both Magnolia and George sat for two hours straight completely mesmerized.  Afterwards Magnolia and Ellie pose with some of the acrobats.

 Here's Magnolia and Anna Grace after the show.
 We also did "Ride the Ducks."  If you've never heard of this, it's a tour that goes on land AND water.  Driving full speed into water was a first!  When the driver asked who wanted to drive the boat, Magnolia stepped right up!
George and Magnolia back at our condo wearing their "quackers."  
It's amazing the ease that comes with reuniting with everyone, kids and parents alike.  We all shared an incredible experience together and it's so nice to come together and remember.  There were times when the girls were together that I felt so proud of them all for that first year of waiting.  Waiting to be loved forever.  Without a doubt they are so very cherished.  And no one has forgotten how lucky they are to be united with such amazing little souls.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our tradition, it seems, is to celebrate the 4th of July on the island.  I was feeling a little sad about leaving our new house and neighborhood over the 4th, afraid of missing all the goodness that goes on around here.  As soon as we got on the island, I realized that our traditions are being created on the island and that's perfectly wonderful.  This year we had the pleasure of celebrating with George's brother and family.  We did the pancake breakfast hosted by the fire house second year in a row.  Above George stands in front of the same truck he stood in front of last year (below).
We had blue skies like this the whole weekend.

She's looking a little too stylish to be driving a fire truck.

He is in HEAVEN.  Had to tear him away.
Love this breakfast, the fire house lets us look at all of their trucks.  They make everything homemade...even the maple syrup is made by someone on the island.
Cousins Charlotte and Cate
These three played beautifully for four days straight.  Swimming, fairy gardens, chalk, scooters, baths, and popsicle eating!
School House Beach was perfect.  We painted rocks, we stacked rocks, we covered each other with rocks, and we swam in that gorgeous water.

There were also some projects to be done around the house.  Improving the outdoor shower was one of them.  The apple doesn't fall from the tree here.  These two fought over that drill...
Being without a kitchen at home, I was happy to cook.  We had some yummy meals and great company.  It was a perfectly relaxing holiday.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nags Head!

My parent's family of 8 has grown to 27 including 14 grandchildren.   For some of us, we are pretty spread out and don't see each other very often.  Every year or so we all gather at the same time and place.  This year we met in Nags Head, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Like my other Wisconsin family members, we decided to make the drive...all 20 hours of it.  It turned out to be one of our favorite parts of our trip.  Here we are in Lexington, VA.  We stayed at this old house they turned into a hotel.  It was such a pretty town and a great night stay.

The next day we stopped in Williamsburg, VA.  While we'll save the historical side of Williamsburg for another trip, we enjoyed lunch and some shopping before we made our way into Nags Head.
I loved this hot dog stand where we got to draw on the chalkboard while we waited to order.  Can you see above Magnolia's head where I wrote "all the way from Wisconsin!"

Sweet potato mustard and coleslaw on our hotdogs, fresh squeezed limeade?  We don't get that in the north!
Couldn't resist this picture!
I kept looking at this picture wondering where she got the tennis ball but it's 2 limes, these two are trouble!
Happy Father's Day!
This was the beach we stayed on, beautiful!

Walking out on the sunny pier, George is wearing the first pair of shortalls I made for him.
A full belly makes a happy boy.  His is filled with Lobster here...
The kids were a little intimidated by the crashing waves on the beach at first.  They eventually warmed up and loved playing on the shore.

Fourteen grandchildren...I don't see Sophia, she must be in there somewhere.  Poor Anthony is trying to keep George from running to me...

It was HOT, it was beachy, it was so MUCH fun!  There's so much more to show and share.... And when I have the chance,  I will!

  To my family: I will somehow put together a file that I can send to you.  It was great seeing all of you, we had a wonderful time!