Friday, June 27, 2014


Opa said it best recently - is there any month better than June? The whole summer is before us, the weather is beautiful (not too hot yet), there is so much to celebrate (birthdays, weddings, graduations), and there's a vacation mindset all around. I don't know what I was worried about with keeping busy this summer - we have really crammed a lot into the first half of summer (on purpose), and keeping busy has not been a problem. Of course, there have still been a few challenges: weather too cold for swimming lessons made those a challenge - but David still LOVED them and is really progressing, rainy and stormy weather hindered Girl Scout camp as well. But overall it has been a great month.

(Still figuring out how to combine pics from camera and phone - I notice that I can read the captions fine from my reader and in blogger, but going directly to the blog online and some of them you cannot read...)

This child is obSESSED with books! I dug out the old board books for her (the ones that are left) and she is constantly begging someone to read with her. The great thing about older siblings is that she has several potential readers (for baby books, anyway). This has been fun because I think I mentioned that Luke is only recently interested in books - so it seems super cute for her to be interested as a toddler.

Brian got me a pedicure for Mother's Day and I went to the salon with my mom. She wanted to take a picture to show Katy what she goes through to have the beautiful nails that Katy is always admiring.
Over Father's Day weekend, Brian and I, Melanie, and Mom and Greg attended a wedding in Cincinnati. Dad and Sue watched the kids, and then we got to celebrate Father's Day with them. Then Brian and I took Anna back home and the big kids had an adventure in Dayton for a couple of days with Grandpa and Grandma Sue. They had a great time, and Anna and I enjoyed some quiet trips to Costco, the pool, and the library while they were gone. These pictures are ones that my dad sent me...
There's a small airport near their house and they went a couple of times to watch planes take off and land, and then some of them are on display so you can actually touch and take a look. We've been meaning to take them to the Air Force Museum sometime - but they probably enjoyed this as much as anything! They talked and talked about it for days.

Dad and Sue RAVE about Entertrainment Junction, if you are ever in the north Cincy area. It is a kids' museum that is train themed with all sorts of intricate models that demonstrate the history of trains. They also have a Coney Island exhibit with working rides!

The kids also loved this new-to-them spray park.

Luke came home exhausted but happy.

David finished his Tae Kwon Do class, they had a fun demonstration for the last class. It was more like TKD-themed fitness than actual martial arts.

As a combined Luke & Mommy birthday celebration with Aunt Mel, Oma, and Opa, we went and picked strawberries and spent some time at the Velvet Ice Cream Factory. It was beautiful and relaxing and the kids really enjoyed it. One of the best parts of picking strawberries is that it makes for great photos.

She just kept picking them off the vine and shoving them in her mouth, before I could get the leaves off. Precious.

Velvet has a beautiful facility and grounds, you can spend some hours there.
Luke eats his ice cream with his whole heart.

(This is from actual birthday, pics are out of order) I have been seriously slacking in the cake decorating department! I totally improvised this design at the last second, because I had no plan. The best part of Luke's birthday was his genuine enthusiasm about everything. He was especially thrilled about opening presents, and was sincerely excited and thankful for each one. I think 4 will be a good year for him.

On our way out of Dayton on Father's Day, we stopped to see my grandparents, which is always a treasure. Katy has been really into making things out of duct tape and made my grandfather this wallet for Father's Day. He was really impressed, and I thought it suited him perfectly.

Anna loves to carry around her baby, push her in the stroller, and feed her graham crackers, etc. It warms my heart to see her toting around this doll that Katy used when she was a toddler too. (Although Katy was never much into dolls, Anna seems to have a little more interest).

During the day on Luke's actual birthday, we went to the zoo with his friend Rebecca. The kids had so much fun and I got to see the new Africa exhibit, which was really incredible. It was hot and crowded (for a Monday!), but all that matters is that he really enjoyed his birthday. When he opened this shirt from Aunt Mel (which says, "Everything is Awesome," a line from the Lego Movie that they saw with Dad and Sue), he read it: "Happy Birthday, Lukey [last name]." He's been showing his sweet nature since his birthday, it's like he flipped some sort of 4 year old switch.

Mommy and Anna selfie on the carousel! I love that she is smiling behind the thumb in her mouth.

So Brian and the kids planted a raised garden this year - they planted broccoli, cucumbers, strawberries, and now peppers and watermelon. I think we just lucked out with the spot, because the little box has done better than expected! We've harvested all the broccoli, two cucumbers so far, and this is our first strawberry of the season. The kids have really enjoyed checking on it each day, and I think they all ate more broccoli than they would have eaten store bought.
Up next...our annual trip to Kentucky, an early anniversary celebration for Brian and I, and then surgeries. We've certainly enjoyed our summer so far...

Sunday, June 01, 2014

May is the new December

Holy cow, is May a busy month or what? Every activity is wrapping up for the year with some sort of party/ceremony/picnic. We have several birthdays in the family, two weddings this May, a baby shower, Mother's Day, end-of-school craziness, etc etc etc. I have some pictures to share of course...

Also, we were in the process of making several (biggish?) decisions. The end result is that I am having surgery on July 7th, and Luke is having surgery on July 24th. It will be a challenge (especially since my lifting restriction will mean that I cannot lift Anna for 6 weeks!), but I am really hoping that by August Luke and I will both be in better shape for it! It ends up that Luke can benefit from removing his tonsils, adenoids, and possibly placing ear tubes for reasons beyond the strep carrier diagnosis. We're hoping that he'll be able to hear better, sleep better, and have better attention and focus. We'll see.

And our other decision was that Katy was invited to participate in a gifted classroom for 3rd-5th grade, but that required moving schools. At first, we were really hesitant to move her, because she is settled and happy and has a great community at our home school. But after much (much MUCH) conversation with people who know what they are talking about, it does seem like it would be a great program for her. And as it turns out, she does have a friend going there also, and we've already met a few of the new families who will be going and they seem great. So, big changes ahead for next school year - kids in 2 different elementary schools and 1 preschool. It's going to be a whirlwind.

OH! And not pictured...Brian and I got TWO NIGHTS AWAY thanks to our saint of an Aunt Mel. She offered to do this for us. We ended up not even leaving town, just staying in a hotel and doing all the fun things we never get to do right here in our own city, eating way too much food, relaxing and shopping and walking and walking and walking. It was the best, BEST two nights. So needed, and I really appreciate Mel for doing it. And she even took them to the zoo, with Oma and Opa to help. We Facetimed and texted a lot, and we were close by if needed. She said it was harder than she expected. Oh, man...Mel, what would we do without you?

First up, the wedding of my dear friend Susan. We were figuring out post-college life in central Ohio together back in our 20's, and were roommates for a time. She met a fabulous man recently and I am thrilled for her. Plus, they got married at Ohio Village, where Brian and I got married! It was really fun to go back there again.
This a terrible picture, but it's the only one I took inside the church and where she is wearing *my wedding veil*. My veil was her "something borrowed," and she made it look so lovely. I was touched that she borrowed it.
Kristen, Susan, and I were a trio back in the day - it's been really fun to see them more often lately with Susan getting married and Kristen expecting her first baby. We've been able to do lots of celebrating together.
After our end-of-year Girl Scout ceremony, Anna picked up Katy's sash and was trying to wear it around the house. I thought she looked adorable. She always knows what things are for and tries to imitate using them correctly. Hilarious.
David came home from school one day SO excited because he lost a tooth at school. Apparently this is the envy of every kindergartener.

A shot from AWANA awards ceremonies...this is Sparks which is K-2nd grade so includes Katy and David this year. These kids work really hard for their awards, they are great kids!

Luke's Tuesday School had a graduation ceremony (I have to admit that graduation ceremonies for every little tiny thing drive me a bit bonkers. But darn it, those kids sure were cute singing up on stage in their pillowcases and paper hats. So we'll play along.) This child is so silly ALL the time, it is hard to get a good picture of him.

Katy turned 8! She had a couple of friends over to spend the night, which was a big event for her. We had trouble figuring out what to get her this year, it seems like an age of transition. Frozen soundtrack, Clue, hula hoop, Skip-it, etc. Oh, and giving her duct tape has kicked off this new obsession with making crafts with duct tape. She hasn't touched the rainbow loom in a week!

Another sign of her growing up. When I asked what kind of cake she wanted, instead of characters, she said, "Chocolate with my name written in cursive." Done, girl.

We've had a turtle sandbox since Katy was 2, and they kids love it and play in it constantly. But recently, sometimes they were all 4 in the little turtle, so there was only a small area to play in the middle because all their feet took up all the room. I suggested to Brian that we could build a big one out of wood. Well, don't suggest something to Brian unless you want him to google it, find the supplies, and get it done. It is a HUGE hit. They are playing in it everyday.

David with his kindergarten teacher, who we loved. Why is the last day of school so emotional? Every year... I think it symbolizes the passage of time, and if your kids had a good year at school (fortunately both of mine did this year), you feel a little nervous...will next year be as good?

Katy with her teacher (side note: both Katy and David's teachers were named "Katie" and both had a brother named "David.") You cannot avoid loving this woman. When I said thank you, she teared up and said, "Truly the joy was all mine." And frequently I'd be going on walks by the school at 8pm and her car was still in the parking lot. She gives so much of herself to the kids.
Nine am the first morning of summer break. All in their jammies with their blankies. So much potential ahead...swimming and slow mornings and playdates and parks and traveling to see family and hopefully just lots of healthy fun. Truth be told, I'm a little intimidated by the weeks ahead, but one week in, I think we will be fine. We will be busy and all will be good.

Luke's little soccer cute. He enjoyed it, but this is one of the reasons that I'm hoping that his surgery will help him. I notice that he struggles to follow the teacher's direction, and I really don't think he's being ornery, just having trouble hearing or attending to it. We'll see...

So, the short story is that a close co-worker of Brian's was getting married, and Brian and I planned to attend the wedding. Less than two weeks before said wedding, they were in need of a new flower girl and ring bearer, and asked if our kids would like the job. They both wanted to do it, so we said yes and did a little scrambling to get their outfits all put together in time. But in the end, they did a great job and really enjoyed it.

They were old enough to know what was going on and asked lots of questions. David is pondering which song he and I will dance to at his reception someday. :)

Presenting the rings. Everything was beautiful. It was also a bit of a trip down memory lane for me, because the church and the reception were in the (beautiful, historic) neighborhood where I lived when I first moved here in 2000. We walked  by my apartment and through the park. Brian helped me move when I left the neighborhood in 2002.
Angelo, the groom. I could not get over how lovely the reception was. We were on this private covered 2nd floor patio that overlooked the neighborhood. It was gorgeous and the food was amazing.

And finally...we had a family portrait taken on Mother's Day, it's been almost four years since our last one. A mom friend from the kids' school takes them as a side business and does it for friends for pennies. I was so thrilled to get these taken. Here are a few favorites...(photo credit Kristen Kielmeyer)