Tuesday, August 30, 2011

had me a blast...
What a summer!  After all of our travel ended, August was wide open and we filled it with pure fun.  We spent many days at my parents pool.  Magnolia started the summer in her floaties, then she jumped off the side with her floaties.  By the end of the summer she wore no floaties and jumped in with no floaties!  She learned to bob, tread, and doggy paddle.  
George, meanwhile, started the summer being fairly timid of the water.  By the end of the summer we could put on his floaties and he would swim around all by himself.  
These two had so much fun together in this pool!
George took over big George's cordless screwdriver this summer.  He can operate that thing as well as his dad.   It appears he has the same passion for all things tools.  George built this little box with all kinds of things for him to operate; a hinge, a knob to twist on and off, a c-clamp, a dowel to hammer, and a screw that requires an allen wrench.  Super fun stuff, right George!?
I took the kids to our nature preserve nearby along Lake Michigan.  I felt very proud of myself as each visit required hikes which I would not normally register high on my things to do  (taking two kids alone, that is).  I felt I earned a medal on two of our visits as on each hike I encountered a snake.  I stood very still and let them pass when inside I wanted to scream and run as fast as I could.  At least the reward of one of our hikes were the pristine sandy shores of Lake Michigan.
We went to our village ice cream social one night.  A walk in the burley, a play in the fountains, and some visits with friends and neighbors.  It was a great night and the kids didn't even want ice cream!
With many joggers in our area, our ever observant Magnolia shows me how she can run in place like the joggers she sees.  This made me laugh hysterically.
The biggest celebration of the month was our "Gotcha Day" or Family Day.  All ready to go out for Chinese food to celebrate, Magnolia declares she wants the Cheesecake Factory.  :)
She opens her fourth gift we brought back from China; a set of nesting pandas and an identical dress that she wore in China for her red couch photos.
Their tummies full of good food, we played at our outdoor mall and then climbed in a photo booth to get our photos taken.  It was a fun day!
Back at home these two wore matching Chinese jammies we brought back from China.
One day we had a beautiful summer rain.  The kind were the sun shines immediately afterwards.  I encouraged these two to go out and play in it, barefeet and all.  No way, they insisted on full rain gear.  I conceded and love this shot of the two of them looking for earth worms.
George was kind enough to help me put green beans in the pot after I snapped him.  His only request was that I put the beans in his mouth so he could drop them in like a puppy.
Magnolia mastered her balance bike.  Here she is showing us her different moves riding through town wearing her Chinese dress.  I think this one was called the "tuck-in."
Moving south put us in the world of fireflies once again.  We showed them to the kids one night and they loved catching them.  Here's Magnolia, a little sad she has to release them.
This was another one of our visits to the nature preserve.  This time we were on the hunt for giant frogs and lily pads.  We found them alright.  Magnolia spotted one so big that we all jumped when it croaked at us as it hopped away.
At the beginning of the summer I told Magnolia this was going to be her summer to master pumping.  She mastered it alright, she loves to swing!  I happily pushed George in the baby swing, knowing this was his last summer in it.

Every evening we had little outings, mostly to parks, the beach, and occasionally for ice cream.  Here we stopped for ice cream...
and then took a walk over to the beach...
so we could dig like dogs in the sand.
To celebrate these few warm days in Wisconsin, we had frozen hot chocolates.  (Just blend hot chocolate or powered milk chocolate mix with milk and ice.  Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings!)
We have a wonderful outdoor mall that we walk to quite a bit.  There's this great fountain they run all summer and encourage kids to play in.  Last summer both kids were so timid to go in.  This summer George was the renegade...
and eventually Magnolia followed suit.
We made a trip to our children's museum.
We ate lots of mini-donuts at the park.
Magnolia mastered the monkey bars and doing flips on the bar.
George learned to ride a tricycle.
They had their first lemonade stand during our garage sale.  I counted out their money at the end and we walked to our toy store where they got to pick out a toy for all of their hard work.

We had cousins visit making for some great pool parties...
a trip to the zoo...
pony rides...
and a movie night!

Although it was a wonderful summer, I'm sad it's almost over.  Only two days left to be completely schedule free!  Today we went to the art museum with my parents.  We saw the Chinese exhibit among many things.  It was the kids first visit.  Magnolia, in particular, seemed to really enjoy it.  
September 1 school starts!!! 

Hope you all had a wonderful summer too!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are these not adorable?  I love homemade gifts.  I mean really, really, love them.  My sister is a rock star knitter and she made these for little George who giggled when we put them on.  He was in heaven.  They are soft and cozy and as I can imagine; a huge favorite this winter.  Although my sister doesn't sell her creations I just wanted to share this homemade goodness.  

I had a good friend as a child that I lost touch with over the years.  I recently tracked her down as she was always a special friend to me.  She is a designer and seems to always be creating something fabulous.  She has this business where she makes Towel Hoodies.  She was kind enough to send one to George on his birthday and included one for Magnolia as well!  She trims them in the most adorable ribbon and then she monograms them.  My kids love them!  We take them to the beach, the pool, and after baths.  You can check out her website here.
I loved how she packages them.  So simple but so cute!
I wish I had a picture of Magnolia's.  Hers has orange flowers and an orange monogram.  I love how feminine it is without having to use pink or purple.  Perfectly fitting for my tomboyish girl!

One of my friends from high school has published these adorable photo books called Snap Stories.   She has a few styles to choose from.  All you have to do is take 10 of your photos and put them inside and you have a story already written to go with your photographs!  The tape is already there! It is just the cutest concept!  I ordered the "Big Adventure" book to document our recent trip to the ocean.  The kids love reading this one and seeing pictures of themselves in it. These make really great gifts.  Check out her adorable website!
Isn't this packaging so cute, so cheerful?  Emma was sweet to send along the Birthday book as well.  I was so excited to see George's 1st Birthday picture used on the label!
(For my STL readers, Snap Stories is local.  You'll find Emma's books in shops around town.  Check out her website for locations!)

I love to make things.  I make a lot of different things but I've never found that one thing that I do well enough to believe in.  I'm in awe of these women who create and believe in what they do.  They really, really inspire me!   

Thank you Emily, Missy, and Emma!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

  Who knew it would be the barstools that have been the hardest thing to figure out in our new kitchen?  
If I had to choose some from here, I'd choose these.  I like the warmth the wicker brings.  They are out of my budget so I have to pass... 
I found these vintage bar stools online here and really love them but there's a couple of problems.  They are barstools and we actually need counter stools.  I'd have to cut about six inches off the bottom and I feel like that's not going to work.  I'd also have to make new cushions and round cushions are really not my forte.  And we'd paint over the gold... a lot of work.
 The peninsula is on one end of the kitchen with nothing but two windows behind it.  The other end of the kitchen is heavy with cabinetry.  I started to realize that I needed something "heavy" to balance out the room.  I like these from here but unless that's leather or vinyl, I couldn't possibly be sane enough to do this with my two kids.  Oh, and they're really expensive....sigh.
 I really love these from here.  Our kitchen is bright and these would work in there.  But since one chair costs over $600,  I'm thinking I could find some wood chairs and paint them a bright color.  I still have the "heavy" issue though...
  These were almost ordered in white.  We like the classic bentwood look but these were really light, so much so that we realized the kids could tip them over easily.  Either that or slip through the back.  These are out.
This was our next solution.  A sturdier bentwood with arms.  We like the warmth a distressed oak chair would bring to the space.  Then we realized how much mac and cheese would be stuck in the caned seat.  I don't think the wood is sealed either...way too many greasy hands for that.

This one was a better solution.  Solid, cushioned, and the price is fair.  When I saw that my fabric choices were Belgian Linen or Velvet I laughed out loud and threw this one out the door.
 Then I thought, why not get these from here.  Cheap, cheap, cheap.  I can paint the legs and recover the seats in vinyl, leather, oilcloth, or outdoor fabric.  Just not excited about them...

That brings me to these.  I saw them here last year and had mixed thoughts about them.  I thought they'd be great if I was the only one on the bench.  I didn't know what I thought about sharing it with someone.  Then I realized after a summer of eating out how much our family likes booths.  The kids like to sit next to us, they like to move around, and sit on our laps.  They're heavy and that will give us the balance we need.  These cost a fortune but I'm finding a way to duplicate them and make them with slipcovers that are completely kid friendly.  And since two out of the three meals a day are with just the three of us, I might just get my own bench!   
 Now I just need to bite the bullet and order them...